Standard Bank is looking to partner with more entrepreneuers in the regions that it operates. Executives share why Africa’s largest business bank values inclusion in its strategy.
Tough economic conditions are raising the bar for businesses across the country to innovate to succeed. However, enthusiasm is not enough to ride through the challenging terrain.
Skills development and a support network that provides access to markets are key to long-term success and sustainability. This is according to Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank by assets.
The bank is building on the success of its Supplier Development initiatives to further diversify and deepen its contribution in the business value chain – with the launch of National Supplier Development Summits.
The first summit was held in Mpumalanga late in 2017. These Supplier Development Summits will be replicated across each province in an effort to localise province /regional needs.
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“We are committed to providing skills and solutions to assist in creating a sustainable SME sector across South Africa. Concentrated support is needed across the various regions and Standard Bank believes more entrepreneurs can take their businesses to the next level if they receive the right levels of support and access,” says Timothy Whati, Head: Provincial Retail and Business Banking Standard Bank, Mpumalanga.
One of the major initiatives within the bank’s regional procurement strategy is to drive social and economic transformation.
A crucial component of this is diversifying its own supply chain by ensuring that goods and services previously procured from national or group suppliers, but are readily available locally, will appropriately be redirected to local and regional suppliers.
Since 2017, Standard Bank has spent around R64 million procuring from a range of businesses within Mpumalanga alone and hopes to increase this in the future through its localised procurement strategy. The bank sees strong future potential among regional economies and its localisation strategy will see it increase spending in all regions.
Standard Bank’s biggest procurement spend is on Information Technologies, since it is highly dependent on digital systems to operate. “Therefore, in terms of sector specialisation and vendor expertise, IT is the most sought-after service within the bank’s procurement spend. However, the bank does procure across different sectors such as construction, marketing, accommodation, training, cleaning, insurance and debt management,” says Joe Vipond, Head: Standard Bank Group Procurement.
The Supplier Development Summits will span the entire country to spark new relationships and business success. The intention is to provide a framework for efficiency, productivity and innovation. “Furthermore, we will unpack supplier processes and how to access procurement, information sharing on possible procurement linkages (including local opportunities) and explain how best to access finance and funding for SMEs, including our new sourcing platform,” says Kholofelo Shaai, Head: Standard Bank Supplier Development.
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From a supplier development perspective, it is important to ensure available opportunities are maximised for the execution of the suppliers and businesses in all South Africa’s nine provinces. This strategy entails providing potential work like maintenance and renovations, accommodation, stationary, debt collection, security, valuation services to local/regional suppliers.
“This forms part of our localisation strategy as a bank, where instead of goods and services being supplied from outside of the region, our objective is to ensure that these opportunities are, where applicable, set aside or redirected to local and regional suppliers and businesses.
Standard Bank will be hosting Supplier Development Summits regionally before presenting an overall national event later this year.