Supplier Development: Bridging the Gap

Supplier Development is becoming one of the most important focuses in South Africa with the revised BBBEE codes. Since 2012 MEDO has been spearheading intense workshop programmes nationally, aiming to empower entrepreneurs by providing training to assist those who have the ability to scale to the big leagues. Taking on one business at a time, our entrepreneurs are moving forward to become some of the most sought-after suppliers to major corporates around.

Over the week of 17-21 August 2015, MEDO hosted yet another of its highly acclaimed Supplier Development Programmes to ten entrepreneurs who are ready to become suppliers to big business. Over the week they took part in full-day intensive workshops where the week culminated in a Big Pitch where the entrepreneurs had the opportunity to present their businesses to a room full of corporates and executives. What truly makes the MEDO Supplier Development Programme unique is also exactly this element of the programme, we not only groom the entrepreneurs to be ready to partner with big business, we actually push them to dive head-first to build those relationships immediately after.

“The Supplier Development Programme exists to assist entrepreneurs who are in business and they have been supplying small individual businesses of private customers and they believe they are ready to supply big business. The thing about big business, is that it operates in a completely different way than small business because of governance and scalability. For example, if you are used to supplying three or four air-conditioners a month, how will you manage in supplying 20 000?” Bjarke Gotfredsen, MEDO CEO and programme facilitator explains.

“The programme works over a week with intensive workshops during the day and prep for the following day in the evenings. It’s like a military-style bootcamp with no pause. Over the first three or four days we work together to build a presentation that they have to give to an audience on the Thursday, Big Pitch. At Big Pitch we have a number of CEOs, government representatives and press where the entrepreneur has five minutes and five slides to show what the business is about. Over the past few years that we have hosted the programme, we have heard from a lot of entrepreneurs that this presentation they developed becoming their main sales tool. It’s short and sweet and to the point. Many of these entrepreneurs have secured big clients and some have even sold the business off to bigger suppliers and started new businesses,” Bjarke adds.

Two-time Supplier Development graduate Pascal Nderitu and owner of PolAmco explains that he has received over R3 million rand in business through connections that he made in Big Pitch over the past year. “The value of MEDO to PolAmco is beyond measure. In terms of progressing my business merely through the business know-how of the bootcamps, MEDO’s impact is truly immeasurable.”

“MEDO is in the business of economic development. We really try and introduce entrepreneurs to corporates and build that bridge between them whilst giving them the assistance they need to do so,” Project manager Nolu Tutani explains. It is, however key to remember that though we groom and introduce the entrepreneurs to these corporates, the onus is on them to seal those deals and even more importantly, deliver. After all, delivery is always key.

“At MEDO we have a few sayings, one being that good enough is simply not good enough. We always make sure that when we deliver and assist entrepreneurs and our clients that it is world class and that it is the best that can ever be. One of the other things, is that we find it very difficult to take no for an answer. We believe that the difficult things are the things that we should be doing. We’ve got a massive mountain to climb when it comes to economic development and job creation, so we must make sure that we keep going and we persevere. And in that goal we are not taking no for an answer,” MEDO CEO and adds on MEDO’s drive behind the Supplier Development Programme.

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