The 1st Annual Smart Procurement World Conference and Enterprise & Supplier Development (ESD) Expo, held in 2019, provided a launchpad for local start-up and SMME businesses to professionalise their operations.
Debbie Tagg, COO of Smart Procurement (the organisers of the event), says that the 2020 event, which will be held from 24 to 26 February this year at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, provides SMMEs with valuable information as well as the opportunity to meet with large corporations in their quest to become part of the formalised supply chain.
Official host partner for the event – the Free State Department of Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) – believes that the ESD Expo is a valuable tool for formal and informal SMMEs to take their businesses to the next developmental level.
“One of DESTEA’s key mandates is to provide enterprises with financial support in terms of funding and equipment, as well as in training and other softer skills, like mentoring. One of the challenges for these SMMEs is access to markets and while we can assist with funding and other support, we often don’t have enough available resources to provide the customer leads they are looking for. The Smart Procurement World Enterprise & Supplier Development Expo allows the ‘buyers’ from the public and private sector to meet the SMME sellers in a highly interactive environment,” says Mphoko Matsie, Director: Regulatory and Stakeholder Management at DESTEA.
“While DESTEA’s main focus is to assist SMMEs, the event’s two-pronged nature means that we are also providing a critical link between corporates and SMMEs to develop the supply chain in a positive and mutually-beneficial manner. In addition, the conference and workshopping elements of the event also provide the SMMEs with valuable information on how to develop and maintain the supply chain connection,” Matsie adds.
Peaceman Motors – hosted by DESTEA – is a classic example of how the ESD Expo can drive the evolution of informal SMMEs into formal SMME status. “The 2019 ESD Expo was a great opportunity for Peaceman Motors to reassess and develop its operations. As a result of the information we gathered from the workshop and conference sessions we have taken critical steps in moving our business to the next developmental level. We have finalised our website and now have a tangible presence in the market,” says Thabang Matsoso, owner of Peaceman Motors (above).
“Up and coming SMMEs should formalise their businesses by registering the business, and by developing a business plan to help them to see where they want their business to go. Dream big and go big,” Matsoso advises.
Matsie points out that the inaugural ESD Expo highlighted the fact that engaging with corporates and public sector departments is a very real and evident struggle for SMMEs. “DESTEA will be assisting these companies through the development of a public procurement framework that identifies the common commodities procured throughout the province and from where they originate. Research to date indicates that many of the commodities are in fact secured from outside the Free State and we would therefore like to look at focusing on creating BEE-driven SMMEs that can develop and supply these commodities from within the province.”
For more information on the upcoming series of Smart Procurement World events for 2020, please visit the website at: www.smartprocurementworld.com