Johannesburg –Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) continues to make a major contribution to the development of a thriving business ecosystem in South Africa through its annual Supplier Skills Summits, that are meant to create platforms for entrepreneurs to develop critical skills, establish potential collaborations and forge long-lasting partnerships.
Over the past three months, CCBSA has hosted Supplier Skills Summits themed Innovation-Driven Growth and Access to Market Bootcamps across the country including Elgin, Western Cape, Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, Bloemfontein, Polokwane, Limpopo, Johannesburg, Gauteng. The next summit will be hosted in Durban, KwaZulu Natal 11 August.
The Johannesburg Skills Summit held in July, was hosted by Andile Khumalo from ‘I Am An Entrepreneur’, who facilitated the session with 61 business owners who supply various services and products to CCBSA. Technology entrepreneur Rapelang Rabana and Theo Baloyi, founder of Bathu, shared their expertise and experience, sparking robust engagement, creativity and progressive thinking.
CCBSA Managing Director, Velaphi Ratshefola, and Finance Director Walter Leonhardt spoke about insights they have gained over the years, including how to overcome challenging trading conditions and most importantly, diversify their businesses.
“For CCBSA, our commitment to entrepreneurship goes beyond providing entrepreneurs with market access. We realised that their success depends on signed contracts, building mutually beneficial relationships and most importantly, investing in them to ensure their success and sustainable profitable growth”, said Ratshefola. “But, having a positive attitude also attracts the right people and opportunities and helps turn every problem into a solution. This is what businesses need to be resilient and prosper”, he added.
Violet Lupuwana, Managing Director at Chumile Holdings said that this was the third Skills Summit she has attended and has found them invaluable: “What stood out for me this year is the lesson on technology and innovation. I now know the importance of improving customer experience and reinforcing my brand to help my business be more efficient and most importantly, not learning “what” makes a business successful but “how” it becomes successful.”
Now in its fifth year, the Supplier Skills Summits take place over several weeks across the country and have become a critical tool in the company’s efforts to reach hundreds of entrepreneurs to stimulate greater economic inclusion to help address unemployment and poverty in South Africa.
Each Supplier Skills Summit is followed by an Access to Markets Bootcamp, an exclusive networking event that connects SMMEs with senior executives of South African businesses to help facilitate introductions and engagement around opportunities offered by large corporates, amongst others, Scania and Barloworld.
The Summits are a series of workshops consisting of a mix of educational and skills development programmes, and business leadership content and critical insights drawn from data. The intention is to help entrepreneurs build key business and leadership skills for entrepreneurs and Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises in the CCBSA supply chain.
Ratshefola applauded the Summits, and said it will continue to be a platform for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, create a better future for themselves, their dependents, and their communities across South Africa.
“By offering suppliers the opportunity to learn additional specialised skills from business leaders, who make decisions to procure their services, we hope that these entrepreneurs will be able to grow and expand their own small and medium-sized businesses,” adds Ratshefola.
At its Supplier Development Conference in 2019, CCBSA established a R100 million development Supplier Development Fund, later relaunched as the Khulanathi SME Fund. The fund was formed to assist, black owned enterprises in the CCBSA value chain, including young women. To date, the company has, helped transform the lives of over 1,000 suppliers, of whom more than half are black female-owned suppliers.