Start-ups

SMEs, big business link up online

Read time 1min 50sec

Registered small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will now be able to access, via an online trading portal, the supply chain opportunities of large South African corporations with a global footprint.

An initiative of Business Leadership SA (BLSA), the BLSA Connect online portal was launched yesterday by president Cyril Ramaphosa, alongside the SA SME Fund CEO Circle, which aims to finance and scale-up black SMEs.

Since taking office, Ramaphosa has been vocal about supporting the development of small businesses by addressing some of the challenges they confront.

Ramaphosa believes supporting small business will go a long way in stimulating the country's entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as job creation.

According to a BLSA statement, the portal will ensure risks to established companies are managed and reduced, as it will encourage transparency and make visible the compliance status of emerging businesses.

The system also looks to create market opportunities for black-owned SMEs through linkages and networking between large firms and small businesses.

Furthermore, it will support emerging enterprises with access to enterprise and supplier development, reveals the statement.

Ramaphosa says joint efforts by the BLSA and SA SME Fund are about creating an ecosystem that is bigger than just getting funders.

"What we are seeking to do is to address the challenges our country faces. The challenges are unemployment, which is huge. Even as we have unemployment, we already know there are certain initiatives that we can embark upon that can address unemployment."

BLSA chairperson Jabu Mabuza states the initiative is the business community's contribution to resuscitating the country's struggling economy and ensuring inclusive economic growth.

"Having been engaged in the issue of inclusive growth, addressing job creation and looking for solutions, we have found that funding is but one aspect. The bigger challenge is creating opportunities," he notes.

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