JSE-listed Barloworld on Tuesday launched the Siyakhula Incubation Hub at its Johannesburg offices to assist suppliers and other companies operating in its value chain to overcome challenges such as market access, finance and skills that tend to impact on small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs).
Barloworld has partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and financial services provider Standard Bank to provide financial support, as well as enterprise development, skills transfer, supplier development and marketing opportunities to its small business suppliers.
The Barloworld Siyakhula Incubation Hub, located at the company’s Barlow Park head office, in Sandton, will seek to support its existing black-owned SMMEs, while also providing support to eligible SMMEs within its larger value chain. Barloworld has provided support to 42 companies and aims to grow the number of incubatees to 120 by 2022.
Barloworld Siyakhula MD Matthew Govender highlights that there is a need for partnerships to grow the economy and address South Africa’s primary challenges, which are poverty, inequality and unemployment.
He noted that Barloworld partnered with Standard Bank and the DTI to enhance the company’s support for SMMEs.
“We are aware of the challenges facing SMMEs, some of these include systemic barriers to market entry, greater competition within the marketplace and a slow macroeconomic environment, but the biggest challenge is access to finance. With these partners, we are helping entrepreneurs gain access to markets and secure funding, all elements crucial to their success,” says Govender.
Aside from enterprise development, Barloworld is also prioritising supplier development and localisation to fuel economic growth in line with the key priorities of government’s National Development Plan.
“We are excited to be in a position where we can invest in the incubation of entrepreneurs to help drive economic activity and equalise the economic playing field by creating opportunities for women- and black-owned companies,” concluded Govender.
To date, Barloworld Siyakhula’s Incubation Hub has assisted its incubatees to create about 670 jobs.