SME class of 2014 "procurement-ready"



PropertyPointGraduation_2014class.jpgSeven small businesses recently celebrated their graduation from the Property Point enterprise development programme. The ceremony marked the end of their two-year partnership with Growthpoint’s enterprise development initiative and the start of the next phase of their entrepreneurial path. With most of these businesses already Growthpoint suppliers, Shawn Theunissen, head of Property Point and CSR at Growthpoint Properties, used the event to reiterate the importance of empowering SMEs to become “procurement-ready” through the process of enterprise and supplier development, in this month’s SmartProcurement.

The recent graduation of Property Point’s class of 2014 gave all stakeholders present an opportunity to reflect on how powerful a tool enterprise development can be – if it acts as a catalyst for meaningful procurement.

Speaking at the event, CEO of Growthpoint Properties, Norbert Sasse, reinforced Growthpoint’s commitment to enterprise development and building sustainable small businesses that meet industry needs. “As a responsible corporate citizen, Growthpoint Properties is committed to the development of a healthy and vibrant SME sector in South Africa. This is why we developed Property Point: to bring this undertaking to life in a very real way.

“The programme is a key aspect of our enterprise development focus – driving economic growth, job creation and transformation, and bringing measurable and sustainable change both within and beyond the property sector.”

Theunissen says that it has been a privilege partnering with each of the businesses and witnessing their growth and personal and professional transformation.

“For us at Property Point, the success of each business is our success. By incubating these SMEs directly in the Growthpoint environment, we’ve enabled them to become procurement-ready and access real market opportunities, whilst adding significant value to our own supply chain. This event was thus all about celebrating meaningful transformation and empowerment beyond compliance. These are the faces behind – and beyond – the numbers. These are the people who have created new jobs and are growing our country’s economy.”

Theunissen used the event to reinforce both the collective and individual impact of the programme. He highlighted the fact that Property Point has unlocked over R167-million worth of opportunities in the greater property industry and created over 840 direct jobs since its inception in 2008.

This is as a direct result of its approach to incubating the businesses in the “opportunity-space” of the key stakeholder: Growthpoint Properties. By working so closely with Procurement throughout the process, Property Point has been able to ensure that each of these businesses graduate from the programme “procurement-ready”.

“This means they are now able to actively compete against established players in the market – all the way from responding to RFQs (requests for quotes) to delivering on contracts awarded to them.”

Theunissen adds that while opportunities at Growthpoint are not guaranteed as there is no “ring-fencing” or preferential procurement, most of the graduating businesses have already secured work at the company. Others are now ready to compete for opportunities.

“In the case of the cleaning company that has just graduated, Twin Cities Cleaning, our approach was to incubate this business so that it could take advantage of opportunities that will be available this year (the tenders for cleaning are cyclical and do not open up on an annual basis.) This speaks to the forward-looking nature of the programme: understanding future supply chain opportunities and ensuring that SMEs are developed to access these.”

The impact figures from the graduating group were also reported on, with the seven businesses showing an average annual growth rate of 80% over the two-year period, and collectively generating over R28.2-million in revenue in the most recent financial year. Theunissen added that the 2 620 hours of training, coaching and mentorship provided to the collective group were directly aligned to the three strategic pillars of the programme, notably building bankability, creating market linkages and providing business development support.

“We are confident that these SMEs will continue to do us proud going forward,” says Theunissen. “We trust that their graduation will also act as a source of inspiration for entrepreneurs across South Africa: reminding them that our country is one of possibility and that there is ample space for them to grow and thrive.”

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