By Ray-Ann Sedres, 17 August 2022
In this year’s Sanlam Gauge, an overall performance score of 65% for enterprise and supplier development (ESD) was recorded for SA Inc as a collective. A relatively low percentage which could be attributed to a lapse in developmental and procurement spend during the pandemic.
Now, Sanlam believes there must be a renewed focus on procurement, enterprise and supplier development of small black- and women-owned businesses. If supported well, there is massive potential for inclusive economic growth, which will translate to increased job creation. SMMEs have the ability to make a significant contribution to economic development and social cohesion.
The SMME sector has always been a special part of Sanlam’s mission to help foster a transformed Africa, where all Africans can live with financial confidence, security and prosperity. Ray-Ann Sedres, Chief Transformation Officer at Sanlam says, “We know that SMMEs are particularly powerful and efficient levers of job creation. In fact, the National Development Plan forecasts that by 2030, SMMEs will generate 90% of the new jobs required.
Ray-Ann Sedres, Chief Transformation Officer at Sanlam
“We have repeatedly acknowledged that the small business sector is the backbone of our economy, and yet we continue to fall short on providing the support SMMEs need to thrive. We need to make it much simpler for SMMEs to access markets, skills, and capital, and we are not referring to handouts but hand-ups. In a country with historically high levels of unemployment, we must make entrepreneurship easier.
“Right now, just 12% of South Africans have the intention to start their own business ventures, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. We need to get this number up. A stronger commitment to ESD, which includes procurement opportunities, could play a pivotal role in providing real, sustained opportunities for smaller suppliers.”
Sedres says that scorecards are useful, but a commitment to the SMME sector needs to go beyond a tick-box exercise. “It is in corporate SA’s best interest to bolster solid local supply chains through a sustained commitment to uplifting SMMEs. Sanlam is dedicated to doing just that. In 2021, R5 billion of our procurement deliveries were from black-owned enterprises, half of which were owned by black women. Our procurement spend from SMMEs in total was R3.2 billion.”
In terms of SMME upliftment, Sanlam has a myriad of initiatives underway:
Sedres concludes, “Our country desperately needs 11 million new jobs in just eight years in order to live true to the 2030 National Development Plan commitment. Without SMMEs, we won’t get close to this target. And without corporate South Africa’s support, SMMEs cannot succeed. They’re our best lever to combat the country’s unemployment rate. They’re also the best way to solve the challenges we face as SA Inc. By uplifting SMMEs, we uplift the nation.”