Multinational beverage and brewing company Anheuser-Busch (AB) InBev subsidiary South African Breweries (SAB) has invested more than R200-million into creating an inclusive supply chain which incorporates black-owned and black women-owned small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs) through its supplier development programmes, SAB Accelerator and SAB Thrive.
The programmes are two of four entrepreneurship development programmes run by SAB to help create 10 000 jobs in South Africa by 2022.
Speaking at the official launch of the programmes, SAB and AB InBev Africa president Ricardo Tadeu said that SAB’s commitment to creating jobs was in addition to the company’s public investment commitments made to the South African government when SABMiller merged with AB InBev at the end of 2016.
Tadeu told Engineering News Online that the aim of the supplier development programmes is to create a diversified and inclusive supply chain by supporting the growth of black-owned suppliers through business development support and funding.
He said that more than 100 jobs have been created through the programmes to date and that SAB has laid the foundation to support entrepreneurs and to contribute towards government’s efforts to grow the economy and reduce unemployment in the country.
Tadeu highlighted that SAB wanted to be a ‘term of reference’ when it came to entrepreneurship across the continent.
“We have many initiatives to help the development of entrepreneurs. All of our initiatives, especially the two launched today, work together with different types of entrepreneurs,” he said.
Tadeu added that the initiatives mainly focused on elements of SAB’s supply chain, adding that the company wanted to help grow, develop and create more jobs through these supply chain programmes.
“We recognise that one of the major hurdles for SMMEs in South Africa is the ability to gain entry into big business and form part of their supply chains. This requires a symbiotic relationship with big business working alongside smaller suppliers enabling, nurturing and helping them to grow to become capable and sustainable entities able to serve the organisation well and over the long term,” he noted.
Tadeu highlighted that the SAB Accelerator had piloted ten businesses that have created 29 permanent and 79 part-time jobs in “just 6 months.”
The programme is currently incubating 24 businesses as part of the official intake after the pilot. The target is to incorporate 100 suppliers a year moving forward.
SAB Thrive has invested R100-million in seven businesses that have created 46 new jobs. In addition, the programme has contributed R140-million in new broad-based black economic empowerment preferential spend.
Also speaking to Engineering News at the launch, Department of Trade and Industry investment head Yunus Hoosen said that the incubators were critical in terms of the sustainability and viability of SMMEs.
“These incubators are unique because they have mentorship roles that help entrepreneurs develop businesses, and integration is significant,” he said.
Hoosen pointed out that the department’s Industrial Development Corporation had a R4-billion facility to fund youth entrepreneurship and develop skills.
He further noted that there were a number of measurements in place across government to address unemployment.
“There is a key focus on developing SMMEs. We are trying to alleviate unemployment and create more jobs and, in doing so, we also want to focus on creating employment for the youth and youth entrepreneurs,” he said.