Thabo Phokane, Servest’s CFO reflects on the year ahead.
Enterprise Development (ED) and Supplier Development (E&SD) is one of the most current government and private sector driven programs, after the 2003 Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) document. These programs are racially selective systems to empower previously disadvantaged groups and to enhance the economy, in South Africa. According to the Stellenbosch Business School, Enterprise Development is defined as ‘the act of investing time and capital in helping people establish, expand or improve businesses.’
This certainly presents young entrepreneurs, inventors and those with unique business ideas, with the opportunity of making a difference in society – not just for themselves, but for other economically active citizens as well.
At the end of 2018, nearly 800 000 matric candidates sat for their final exams across the country. Of these many will opt to further their studies through a tertiary institution, but for those who will be seeking employment, it will not be easy. According to an article in Fin24, less than a quarter of matriculates will find jobs relatively quickly. The economist, Mike Schüssler of economists.co.za said in the online article – about the previous year’s matriculates – dated January 2018, “Those members of the matric class of 2017 who will not be studying further, but will be looking for a job, will not be easily absorbed by the job market.” He continued, “it will be tough for them to get work. Over 50% of our matriculates under the age of 34 have not found permanent employment and it’s not getting better.” [https://goo.al/pfEP3H]
Whilst the facts of the situation are important, seemingly, discomforting news articles make those who just completed their exams, be it in school or a tertiary institution, rather despondent. These are meant to be the years to which they look forward to making a difference and impacting the South African economy; and those communities in which they live.
Those who are courageous enough to start their own businesses, also seem to be at an economic disadvantage. The Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) 2018Q1 SMME survey, dated July 2018, reported the contraction in SMME employment, in the number of owners (1.4%) and employment (15.9%). The report further informs, that the number of two to three (2-3) year old enterprises are contracting by more than 15% year on year, of those in the age gap between 25 to 34 years. [https://goo.al/m4UJWe].
Young and new entrants to the South African economic landscape, should however not despair, as Enterprise and Supplier Development could be their saving grace. Whilst Enterprise Development and Supplier Development contributes to companies’ Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) scorecards, it helps to build a system of economically viable entities that address unemployment and gender inequality, among other aspects. Together, corporates and successful E&SD candidates contribute to a growing and thriving economy. South African corporates are digging deep to support a system of growing its status, as a prospering economy. These companies have the funds to support E&SD and are more than eager to consider candidates for their initiatives. It is therefore important to remain positive and to put in the work, to gain access to such programs that support young entrepreneurs and our country’s future leaders. Servest as an example, has had great success working hand in hand with enterprise development companies who have reaped the benefits of the support of a well-established organisation – in terms of mentoring and ultimately, commercial success. This is done through the Lesipho Trust who has developed among others, a Landscaping enterprise, a Cleaning enterprise, a Toilet paper enterprise and a Uniform enterprise.
Servest’s Lesipho Trust seeks to impact local communities through Enterprise Development, Supplier Development and Socio Economic Development. It partners with communities and black businesses to create meaningful social change in areas of society, where the Trust operates. It assists companies in advancing their business and also provides them with the opportunity to become Servest preferred suppliers, thus ensuring that they remain sustainable entities.