The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Transnet Pipelines have launched the final phase of their Enterprise and Supplier Development programme.

The three-year programme was initiated to develop, support and transform small, medium and microsized enterprises in Durban into reliable suppliers and sustainable businesses that can contribute to Transnet Pipelines’ value chain.
The final phase is the cornerstone of the programme, focusing on mentorship and industry exposure. It will have the participating SMMES partnered with mentors.
In the earlier phases, the programme focused on skills development and training, and in phase two, it was sector-focused and centred on market analysis.
The final phase will see each mentor assist their mentees in consolidating the knowledge acquired during the past two years and act as a sounding board for the SMMES to forge ahead in creating sustainable businesses and accessing new markets.
Durban Chamber chief executive Dumile Cele said well-managed programmes were key to ensuring real and sustainable business and economic growth.
“SMMES are the backbone of our economy and deserve more recognition for their contribution and support in their efforts,” he said.
Cele said relationships were the real currency of commerce and creating a space where businesses could meet, interact and form meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships was key not only to economic success, but to bridging historic gaps in South Africa’s social and financial system.

The participating mentors are lead mentor Kim Macilwaine, Akhona Ngcobo, John Charter, Lindani Dhlomo, Thandazile Mokhohlouloane, AK Essack, Zee Cele, Justin Foxton, Rajes Govender and Karl Schmidt.
The mentors are experienced and influential business people all of whom have served in various senior positions, locally and internationally.
Macilwaine said they had a passionate group of mentors who wanted to make a contribution in helping the SMME sector.

“Our first meeting with the owners and directors of the SMMES on the programme was very positive and we will now work with them individually to create a six-month plan to help grow their businesses sustainably and ‘upskill’ them in specific areas.
“This initiative by the chamber and Transnet Pipelines will strengthen their supplier base. We hope for a wider application in future.”