On Friday the 7th November seven entrepreneurs entered the big league by completing the MEDO Supplier Development Bootcamp. Sponsored by BT Global Services, the intensive week long bootcamp had the entrepreneurs critically assessing their small businesses and rebuilding them as sustainable suppliers for large business.
Oliver Fortuin, BT head of operations for Sub-Sahara Africa gives context to the Programme “at BT we see Transformation as our contribution to the economy and not tick-box compliance. We have partnered with MEDO over the last three years on our International Trade Programme introducing small black owned ICT a businesses to UK markets. We found that these beneficiaries added value as suppliers in our value chain and with this Supplier Development Programme we have expanded the scope of opportunities available.”
The five day bootcamp brought together supply chain expertise, business development specialists and sessions on personal leadership. “With increased opportunities to sell to big business comes added responsibilities, “ adds Nolu Tutani, MEDO Programme Manager. “Having all the governance in place is simply the ticket to the game, being black owned does not entitle the business to getting the sale. Running a sustainable and scalable enterprise takes great self discipline”.
The week culminated in a presentation event at which the entrepreneurs were introduced to BT executives and MEDO partners.Presantha Naidoo (official title) remarked that her team sees opportunities to engage with the entrepreneurs as suppliers, and in some cases for multiple year contracts. “Supplier Development is global best practice and not something we do in South Africa in isolation to score points” . The points however will be very welcome in BT’s next financial year with the revised BBBEE scorecard . “Transformation needs to be aligned with the global strategy in the case of Multinationals so that it adds value instead of consuming profits” chips in Judi Sandrock Co-Founder of MEDO. “Enterprise and Supplier Development is leveraged by successful global companies as one of the tools for increasing business sustainability and optimizing efficiency. The DTI is now catching us doing the right things with the revised codes.”
The bootcamp was only the beginning of the journey for the entrepreneurs. For another 10 months they receive mentorship from a supply chain specialist and support from MEDO Club. MEDO is the Meta Economic Development Organisation delivering projects from rural entrepreneurial awareness through enterprise and supplier development to international trade programmes. Since 2008 the MEDO team has engaged with over three thousand entrepreneurs across South Africa, and conducted five international trade visits. The MEDO Supplier Development Programme is customised for the sponsor to ensure value addition in the supply chain. MEDO Club comprises a shared service of legal, accounting, marketing, HR and procurement support. The team arranged networking events to give the members access to markets and exposure to the knowledge shared by industry and subject matter experts.