In partnership with construction giant Aveng, the DTI hosted a black supplier development summit and exhibition at Gallagher Estate this week. DTI chief director of BEE, Nomonde Mesatywa said the initiative was part of a concerted drive to jack up enterprise development factor within the mainstream corporate sector.
The exhibition drew a number of high profiled players including National Empowerment Fund, Absa Bank, South African Revenue Service, and the Construction Industry Development Board.
In a key note speech delivered at the summit the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said the government is working hard to ensure that there is a symbiotic relationship between small enterprises and big business in South Africa.
“A symbiotic relationship between small and big business exists in countries that have successful economies. We also are in the process of ensuring that big businesses do not only procure goods and services from small enterprises, but they also assist them with skills transfer, supplier development and enterprise development,” said Davies.
Mesatywa said the summit focused on the infrastructure development sector was a resounding success. We hope hope to build a momentum that will enable emerging black entrepreneurs to participate in major infrastructure development projects being rolled out by the government”.
She said the initiative fulfilled one of the DTI’s key strategic objectives of forging strategic partnerships and collaboration with the private sector in the implementation of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE).
“We seek to foster these partnerships by promoting key elements of the score card such as enterprise and supplier development, and procurement as key areas that companies should focus on,” Mesatywa said. The department, she said, was hoping that the interaction which happened during the summit would translate into real opportunities for black players in the construction market. “In line with the call for the government to up the transformation gear, we are interested in seeing real entrepreneurs emerge from value chains of major corporations.”
Mesatywa said this would require the corporate sector to reorientate itself and move away from the box-ticking compliance approach into rolling out structured enterprise development initiatives.
She said the focus on the infrastructure development sector was timely given the large amounts of money being spent by the public sector on infrastructure development.
Aveng Group CEO Roger Jardine said the group grabbed the opportunity to be part of the summit because it “was committed to developing the capacity of emerging black enterprises, with a view to ensuring their growth and long term sustainability by providing them with various capacity building interventions”. These include skills transfer through training and development workshops and mentorship programmes,” he said.
“We are committed to this because we believe having a growing number of sustainable small, micro and emerging enterprises is an effective way of addressing the scourge of poverty, underdevelopment and unemployment which presently confronts our country.”