The government and various partners have come together to provide financial support in an attempt to get SMMEs through lockdown, but what happens afterward? There is a pressing need to support and enable suppliers for them to emerge from this turbulent period as empowered and thriving entities.
“Smart Procurement remains the organisation with access to the largest buying community (20 000+) and we can be the solution to drive SMME impact during and post-Covid-19 both virtually – in this time of social distancing – as well as face to face,” says Keshni Reddy, Project Head of Commercial for Smart Procurement.
In addition to the Smart Procurement SMME Clinic initiative, which is a free content platform for SMMEs, Smart Procurement has also launched Covid-19 response support and development solution for SMMEs.
Reddy explains that the approach is two-fold – a three-week training programme covering:
How to pandemic proof your business. This gives trainees the tools to respond proactively to the challenges caused by Covid-19 as well as how to identify and pursue opportunities through this time.
Pitching to buyers. Equipping trainees on how to engage customers in a virtual environment.
The training is followed by a process of profiling each business and facilitating access to the market through Smart Procurement’s SmartXchange platform. The platform provides SMMEs with linkages to large corporates as well as other SMMEs in South Africa’s buyer community. Together the two elements will ensure that businesses are upskilled as well as have access to clients so that they can be sustainable.
“Three groups of interactive and practical training have already been completed online and we are busy facilitating buyer engagements. Our approach with SMMEs is very consultative so that we can understand how to leverage short-, medium- and long-term opportunities for them within our buyer community. The feedback from our SMME participants has been very informative and encouraging,” says Jodi-Lee Rood, Project Director for Smart Procurement.
“The sessions were very helpful and have given me opportunities to continue to trade during the lockdown. I was able to realign my services and actually got new work in during this time.” Luvuno Engineering
“My sessions with the business strategist were very productive and really helped. I’m still doing work around my purpose and lining that up with the business’ goals.” Somila Engineering
“I enjoyed getting the advice on how to sell, how to create a pipeline and use social media networks. The biggest impact for us came from the cash flow sessions with the chartered accountant. She highlighted so many issues on our income statement and balance sheet and she has helped us to make crucial improvements.” Unidrive
“We have the solution: a captivated buying audience and the technology to get us through this time as a nation, but we need financial support to be able to make a meaningful impact for SMMEs. To help promote this we launched the #LocalisLoyal Pledge campaign at our first online Smart Procurement World Western Cape Conference in late May. Introduced by SME procurement specialist Elmarie Goosen, the campaign identifies the need to encourage small businesses and we are now calling on our procurement and supply chain community to pledge their commitment to enable local businesses,” says Rood.
Rood explains that the initiative focuses on corporates assisting the SMMEs by hosting them on the programme. “In addition, we look forward to continuing our partnership with the corporate Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) programme and government’s Covid-19 response programmes,” says Rood.