Press releases

Barloworld boosts SMME incubation growth

14 March 2017

14 March 2017 – Barloworld, a distributor of leading brands, launched its Barloworld Siyakhula Incubation Hub to assist small business suppliers to the group and its larger value chain in navigating challenges commonly facing Small, Medium and Micro-Sized Enterprises (SMMEs) when it comes to access to big markets and finance.

Barloworld has partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) and Standard Bank to provide financial and non-financial support to its small business suppliers in its value chain. The support includes enterprise development, skills transfer, supplier development and marketing opportunities.

The Barloworld Siyakhula Incubation Hub, located at Barloworld’s Head Office in Sandton, targets its existing black-owned SMMEs while also providing support to eligible SMMEs within its larger value chain. Barloworld aims to provide support to approximately 20 to 40 SMMEs per year over a 3-year period, helping up to 120 SMMEs to become sustainable, value-adding suppliers.

Barloworld Siyakhula’s Managing Director, Matthew Govender, said the company acknowledges that to grow the economy they need to have smart partnerships.

“We came to the realisation that SMMEs needed much more than what we were offering, and we partnered with Standard Bank and the dti to broaden our collective support for SMMEs and to make it beneficial. We are aware of the challenges facing SMMEs, some of these include systemic barriers to market entry, greater competition within the marketplace and a slow macroeconomic environment, but the biggest challenge is access to finance. With these partners, we’re helping entrepreneurs to gain access to markets and secure funding, all elements crucial to their success,” says Govender.

Aside from enterprise development, Barloworld is also prioritising supplier development and localisation to fuel economic growth in line with the key priorities of government’s National Development Plan.  

“We are excited to be in a position where we can invest in the incubation of entrepreneurs to help drive economic activity and equalise the economic playing field by creating opportunities for women and black-owned companies,” concludes Govender.

To date, Barloworld Siyakhula’s Incubation Hub has assisted its incubatees to create approximately 670 jobs. The support has resulted in a number of success stories, particularly entrepreneurs seeking to leave their mark on the world of industry.

Department of Trade and Industry Director General, Lionel October, said the dti strongly encourages the linkages between the big and small businesses, enabling smaller firms easier access to critical infrastructure and technical support while creating a bigger supplier base for big businesses. “In collaborating with the dti, Barloworld has taken a practical step to nurture and grow small businesses through their vulnerable early stages of development as well as to incorporate especially black suppliers into its supply value chain,” says October.

Among the hurdles faced by Lolo Papo, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of T-Marc Logistics, gender bias has been one of the biggest. Repeatedly, she has had to overcome doubt and disbelief within a marketplace sceptical of her abilities. Nonetheless, she has doggedly pursued her ambitions in the competitive arena of transport and logistics, and in 2011 won her first contract with Barloworld.

Since then, her supplier relationship with Barloworld has grown – along with her business. Over the past five years, Papo’s staff complement has climbed to 53 employees, with a turnover of over R 11 million per annum – a true success story.

Recognising her potential, Barloworld Siyakhula has provided Papo with on-going mentorship and consulting services aimed at strengthening her business systems and access to markets. Within eight months of this development partnership, T-Marc has seen a 40% increase in profits.

In addition, Barloworld Siyakhula has assisted Papo with asset finance, leveraging its supplier development partnership with Standard Bank. T-Marc received R1-million in funding towards the purchase of three vehicles for its transport division.

Access to markets is a particular challenge for the panel beating businesses such as Safana Panelbeaters and Spraypainters, with manufacturers' policies compelling owners of vehicles under warranty to use dealerships or approved workshops for repairs - or risk having warranties invalidated. This results in many independent panel beaters missing out on valuable opportunities. Barloworld Siyakhula has assisted Safana Panelbeaters and Spraypainters to overcome this challenge and to gain accreditation through leading vehicle manufacturers.