Coca Cola Unveils A USD 7 Mn Fund For Growth Of SMEs

By  |  March 13, 2019

USD 7 Mn SME fund has been announced for supporting the growth and sustainability of black suppliers in South Africa.

Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) has unveiled a new CCBSA SME Supplier Fund that will be available for over five years to enable existing black- and black female-owned suppliers access the funding they require to deliver on new and existing contracts.

CCBSA Financial Director Walter Leonhardt revealed this recently while speaking during the company’s inaugural Supplier Development Conference which was themed ‘Collaborative and Inclusive Growth’.

“We are, today, launching the CCBSA supplier fund of access to funding. To address the issue of access to funding which most SMEs experience,” said Leonhardt. The fund will make USD 1.4 Mn available annually for over five years at preferential rates.

The Supplier Development Conference is part of the local company’s commitment to a series of public interest conditions attached to its parent company’s Coca Cola Beverages Africa.

CCBSA is also joining forces with other fund managers in order to make it easier for smaller suppliers to have access to other funding sources. “It is through everybody’s efforts, that CCBSA is able to support black businesses and is now well on target to meet its goal of becoming a Level 2 broad-based black empowerment contributor by 2021,” Leonhardt noted.

CCBSA Managing Director, Velaphi Ratshefola stated that such initiatives like CCBSA SME Supplier Fund should be viewed within the context of the imperative to “accelerate inclusive economic growth and create jobs”. Adding that the inventive has fulfilled a request South Africa’s President Ramaphosa made early in 2019 when he was giving a State of the Nation address.

Ratshefola insisted that the move should also be seen as indispensable as the company would only succeed if the country as a whole succeeds. Busi Thusi, Procurement Transformation Manager at CCBSA and Ratshefola laid emphasis on the importance of collaborating to help others.

Thusi did shade light on the importance of supporting the sustainability of suppliers. CCBSA is liaising with a number of partners to assist suppliers better their business practices in order further grow their profits.

CCBSA’s Supplier Development Conference is now in its third year. It focuses on providing a platform which SMEs can network with stakeholders like government departments and entities, local municipalities, corporates, specialist development finance institutions the media, and industry and business organisations.

This year’s event attracted 120 SMMEs a lower number compared to last year’s conference which had 750 SMEs in attendance. During last year’s Supplier Development Conference, the company announced its commitment to divert USD 273 Mn in procurement spend to black-owned and women-owned businesses over the next three years to encourage a more inclusive supply chain ecosystem.

Ratshefola hinted that courtesy the USD 273 Mn they committed last year, they have seen it bear fruits. “So for me, it is clear that this is working. We have helped create a very inclusive economy, ” Ratshefola said.

Featured Image Courtesy: EDB

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