Conceived and developed by Zandile Njamela, Accenture’s Enterprise Supplier Development programme has become a point of pride in the organisation, providing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with business development support, mentorship and access to the market, while helping them achieve economic empowerment and contribute to job creation.
In her own words, Zandile tells us about the rapid growth of the program and how it fits into the global Accenture picture.
I’ve always believed that SMEs are well positioned to increase job opportunities in South Africa, and that we should recognise the vital role that these SMEs can play in economic growth and actively develop initiatives to help ensure their sustainable growth.
Our Enterprise and Supplier Development Programme is a reflection of our overall commitment to driving inclusion and diversity, both within Accenture and throughout the fabric of our communities. By helping grow these small businesses, we are enabling Accenture, our clients and our local economies to benefit from the innovative contributions they provide. With the changing of the BBBEE codes in 2014, I saw that Accenture in South Africa was potentially exposed, and that a formalised programme like the ESDP would address the requirement to help develop entrepreneurs.
I approached our Head of Procurement, Linda Basson, and shared my thoughts. She liked the idea so next I went to William Mzimba, our CEO, who gave me carte blanche to start the programme.
To start, Accenture initiated an ESDP pilot with seven participants, six Accenture suppliers and 1 SME outside our supply chain. We ran a pilot in 2015 which was a great success—four out of the five suppliers involved are now Accenture’s top contracting companies and we have helped them diversify and establish themselves as credible businesses in the market.
We recognized from the pilot, however, that we didn’t successfully integrate the one entrepreneur who was not already a supplier of Accenture. So, in the next intake we focused on taking small businesses that were not already Accenture suppliers with the aim of bringing them to the point where they would be able to transact with big corporates like Accenture.
In March 2016, Accenture SA formally launched its own 24-month country-specific ESDP and applied the approaches used in the company’s Global Diverse Supplier Development Programmes (DSDPs) in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Having had been an entrepreneur also gave me the real-life view into the world of entrepreneurship, its needs and challenges and enabled me to design and develop a programme that really puts the entrepreneur first. I ensured that the program is characterised by the inclusion of multiple elements considered essential to the successful development of SMEs in the South African economic landscape.
We recruit potential beneficiaries based on Accenture’s business skill needs and pipeline prospects which have SME partnership opportunities.
Once successfully inducted into the program, beneficiaries are paired with a mentor. The mentor is a Senior Executive at Accenture who is passionate about entrepreneurship and making a difference in the economy.