Last year Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) launched the #BusinessBelieves initiative in Alexandra Township, Johannesburg, Gauteng Province. The flagship of this campaign was the Contract which BLSA signed with South Africa. As part of the contract, BLSA committed to create more jobs by growing the economy, encourage and empower senior black leadership, invest in South Africans, invest in communities, support small business, and finally, condemn and root out corruption.
Emanating from the commitments outlined in this contract, BLSA is launching BLSA Connect. According to BLSA, small businesses need to be adequately empowered to create more jobs for the economy to grow. BLSA Connect is designed to achieve sustainable linkages and networking platform between corporate South Africa and black owned suppliers. It aims to integrate black owned suppliers in the value chain of corporate South Africa including procurement, distribution and sales. In terms of this concept, BLSA member-companies will set aside supply chain budget, goods and services to be provided by black suppliers. The approved black-owned companies will access these opportunities through an online platform.
An elated BLSA CEO, Bonang Mohale said BLSA Connect is an appropriate answer to their commitment to support small businesses. “When the SMME sector grows and create employment, the local economic activity increases, poverty is significantly reduced, new markets are created and the large firms and the country benefits” says Mohale adding that the case for stronger SMME sector is a case for big business and a better South Africa.
Statistics allude that the current labour absorption rate for SMMEs in the country is about 40% which is the lowest among the BRICS economies. SMME contribution to GDP is at 45%, among the lowest in the world. Mohale says these statistics are a clear indication that South African SMMEs are underperforming.
Founding BLSA Connect CEO, Dumisani Mpafa says they aimed to reduce the cost and effort to accessing business development support opportunities by black suppliers. He says, “we want black suppliers to have a coordinated approach to access market opportunities in the private sector”. “BLSA Connect will not only bring opportunities to innovate new inventions but also increase competitiveness”, says Mpafa.
According to UNIDO-Harvard University research, there are various opportunities that could be availed to SMMEs through linkages with large firms including, procurement, enterprise development, manufacturing, outsourcing non-core functions and services, distribution and retail, franchising and leasing, sales of financial services. “We are convinced that BLSA Connect has all the ingredients necessary for the achievement of a successful linkages and networking initiative”, concludes Mpafa.
Black-owned SMMEs are encouraged to contact BLSA Connect on www.blsaconnect.com