President Cyril Ramaphosa will launch the Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) Connect and SA SME CEO Fund Circle in Johannesburg, the presidency said.
“Business Leadership South Africa Connect is an online trading platform that will give registered small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) access to supply chain opportunities of large South African corporations that have an integrated global footprint,” spokesperson to the president, Khusela Diko, said.
The online portal is said to promote supplier diversity and the inclusion of black suppliers in the value chain.
Diko said the initiative would create market opportunities for black-owned SMMEs through linkages and networking between large firms and SMMEs and would support emerging enterprises with access to enterprise and supplier development.
“This programme of broadening economic participation forms part of BLSA’s #BusinessBelieveInSouthAfrica campaign. One of the commitments under this campaign is support for small businesses,” Diko said
“The BLSA campaign supports government efforts, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, to broaden economic participation and dilute the concentration of the South African economy in which a relatively small number of enterprises dominate all levels of supply chains and limit choices for consumers.”
Ramaphosa in February signed into law the Competition Amendment Bill which constitutes a boost for SMEs, economic inclusion and is intended to open the economy to fresh investment and innovation.
“At this week’s event, President Ramaphosa will concurrently launch the SA SME Fund CEO Circle, which aims to finance and scale up black SMMEs. The fund was set up under the auspices of the CEO Initiative in 2016 to stimulate growth and investment drawn from the expertise of South Africa’s top business leaders,” Diko said.
She said fifty of South Africa’s largest companies have collectively invested R1.4 billion in the capital in the SA SME Fund which is mandated to invest the bulk of its funding into black emerging businesses.
“President Ramaphosa has urged all social partners across the public and private spheres to collaborate on finding long term sustainable solutions to combat and reduce inequality, poverty and unemployment and to secure and create inclusive growth to build a prosperous South Africa,” Diko said.
The launch is set to take place at Discovery Place in Sandton.