Glencore Ferroalloys launches enterprise and supplier development hub

4th March 2021 By: Donna Slater - Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

Glencore Ferroalloys is helping to redress South Africa’s historical socioeconomic inequalities by supporting local small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs) through the recent launch of its first Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) Hub, in Rustenburg.

Glencore opened the ESD hub, which was launched on March 1, with the intent of supporting small businesses through business skills development, infrastructure, opportunities and funding.

The enterprise supplier development programme will last between six and 36 months, depending on the growth stage and developmental needs of each business.

At the launch event, Glencore Ferroalloys stakeholder engagement superintendent Ntombizodwa De Toit quoted President Cyril Ramaphosa, who in his State of the Nation Address said, “If we are to achieve the goal of the National Development Plan to create at least 90% of the targeted 11-million new jobs by 2030, we need to pay far closer attention to developing small businesses.”

Glencore Ferroalloys CEO Japie Fullard says that, in the past, people have come to the company with “brilliant concepts”, but that these businesses still often failed before their ideas became realised. “This is where we saw the gap and need of capacitating and developing local SMMEs.”

He notes that the launch of the ESD Hub has the potential to change the economic status quo of the community in which it is based. “Through this programme, we aim to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of local SMME vendors, fostering supplier diversity and creating shared value.”

The Glencore Ferroalloys ESD programme has been designed as an economic development strategy based on building SMMEs and integrating them into competitive markets that are stronger and more inclusive.

To achieve this, Glencore Ferroalloys partnered with Regoapele Capital, a development consultancy that specialises in the design, development and implementation of ESD solutions.

Together with Regoapele, Glencore Ferroalloys intends to connect with local business from its doorstep communities in a “meaningful and lasting way”.

Regoapele COO Otukile Moshori says initiatives like this are key to achieving real economic transformation. “The ESD Hub is an innovative way of potentially remedying some of South Africa’s deep inequalities.”

He adds that an important function of redress is big businesses lending a helping hand to small businesses so they can upskill and improve their business processes to vie for opportunities in bigger markets and to evaluate alternative livelihoods beyond mining.

“This is essentially what Glencore Ferroalloys intends to do through this hub.”

To qualify to be part of the programme, SMMEs must meet several requirements, including being at least 51% black-owned and an employer of locals and/or able to show the capacity to create jobs for locals as a result of participating in the programme.

Applicants also need to ensure they are exempted microenterprises or qualifying small enterprises and show growth potential and the ability to become sustainable through business plans.

They should also have majority shareholders involved in full-time management of the business, be established within local communities where Glencore Ferroalloys operates and be interested in and commit to the programme.

MMC Ofentse Kombe – who attended the launch on behalf of the Executive Mayor of Rustenburg Mpho Khunou – pledged his support to the hub, saying the municipality would do its best to support Glencore Ferroalloys.

“We really appreciate the efforts made by Glencore Ferroalloys in continuing to partner with the community on projects that will uplift community members.”

He also expressed the hope that the business hub would help locals learn and understand the fundamentals of business, because ultimately, the hub was about empowering locals, growing businesses and developing the local economy.