STEELPOORT– With small business being touted as the genesis of the recovery of the local economy post COVID-19 setbacks, Glencore Ferroalloys has stepped up its support of local entrepreneurs through the roll out of Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) Hubs across major mining communities in South Africa. Staying true to the brand ethos of progressing together with South Africans, the mining giant added one more hub to its network of ESD support hubs through the launch of the newly constructed Hub in Steelpoort, Limpopo. The launch of the hub is set to be a major game changer for Steelpoort and surrounding areas, as community members have long wished for this level of support, due to the lack of employment and skills shortage within the area.
“Small businesses are an integral part of revitalising our economy and our aim is to infiltrate our host communities with resources that will help them progress their business through the ESD hubs. The roll out of these hubs are Glencore’s way of being intentional about our passion for enabling small businesses and seeing them grow to compete in bigger markets. We want community members to take full advantage of the services offered in our ESD hubs because that is what will lead to what we at Glencore call; progress together.” said Glencore Ferroalloys CEO, Japie Fullard.
The ESD launch was attended by the Chief Operations Officer of Regoapele Capital, Otukile Moshori, who has worked hand in hand with Glencore to roll out the ESD hubs in communities. “We are a development consultancy that specialises in the development and implementation of enterprise development and supplier development solutions, this means that our main function is to help capacitate small businesses and entrepreneurs with the goal of growing local economies. We really value the role that big corporates like Glencore are playing because they are setting a prime example for other big businesses to see the value of supporting SMMEs.” he said.
In the last two years Glencore has rolled out these critical ESD hubs both virtually and physically to try and meet the demands of economic inclusion and upskilling of the mining giant’s host communities. To date vast numbers of young people and women have benefited from the financial guidance and skills support offered through these hubs, allowing them to be economically active and supporting them with the right infrastructure enabling them to continue growing their businesses.
“As part of our CSI responsibility, Glencore is committed to supporting small businesses which have the potential to make a meaningful contribution to the economy. We really want to see the ideas of especially young entrepreneurs in our host communities come to life and make a positive impact. We hope these initiatives will show South Africa the ripple effect that can result from real and tangible support for SMMEs which can move from an individual level, all the way through to making the country a better place.” said Conroy van der Westhuizen, Chief CSR Officer at Glencore Ferroalloys.
Local business owners in the community also came out to show support of the new Glencore ESD Hub with a number of them thanking Glencore for what they consider a very necessary and urgent support system.
Angel Mahlangu from Steelpoort owns a small scaffolding business called Thankodu Holdings and knows first-hand the impact small businesses can make with the right support. “I started my business in 2017 and in the same year Glencore began training me to be an official supplier. In the beginning I only had five employees but due to Glencore’s support I have been able to employ 21 people. I know that Glencore cares for small businesses because of what they have done for me and my business. Through their reference I am also now able to work with other big businesses in the community” he said.
The ESD Hub in Steelpoort is officially open for business giving community members an opportunity to visit the hub and begin their consultations in order to see what kind of support is available to them. The ESD programme is specifically targeting local black- owned, black women-owned, the disabled and youth-owned enterprises in the business pre-start up, start-up and early growth stages in order to provide them with the necessary support to grow their businesses to bigger and better heights.