Professional services multinational Accenture brought 19 small business entrepreneurs into its fourth two-year enterprise supplier development (ESD) programme, which focuses on developing the skills of entrepreneurial businesses to increase the economic participation and growth of black-owned small and medium-sized enterprises within Accenture's supply chain.
Diverse suppliers, often smaller businesses, have an enormous impact on the communities in which they operate. They help improve the livelihoods of people within the community by offering employment, and they also add specialised value to bigger businesses, Accenture notes.
"Accenture believes that big companies must proactively engage with the smaller businesses in their communities and treat supplier diversity and inclusion as crucial goals and an essential part of a company's procurement strategy," says Accenture in Africa enterprise supplier development lead Zandile Njamela.
"Diversity can help unlock value far exceeding traditional supply chain cost savings. It boosts competitiveness and innovation, builds consumer loyalty, attracts talent and is for the overall betterment of society," she says.
The Accenture ESD programme provides a blueprint for a more inclusive and empowered marketplace. The company is achieving excellent results with the programme by developing the skills of black-owned entrepreneurial businesses, it states.
"This is why our theme for this class is Access to Market, where we make a considerable effort to convert the programme participants into business partners and suppliers. We are building these businesses so that they can become our partners and help us in our offering, gain our bottom-line benefit and, ultimately, benefit all of South Africa," says Njamela.
The small business entrepreneurs gain access to Accenture's resources, including its people, knowledge base, methodologies, technologies and global network, and the whole of Accenture contributes to growing their business.
It gives them a route to market, by working hand-in-hand with a global business leader, adding value to clients and our nation, she adds.
While the chosen small business suppliers might not yet be procurement ready, even after the rigorous selection process, as they progress in the programme they will be guided and supported according to six pillars, namely business and leadership training, mentorship, early payment to facilitate cash flow, business development support, access to the market through Accenture's network and collaboration, Njamela notes.