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Shoprite launches division dedicated to developing its small suppliers

Retailer Shoprite has launched a new division that will help to grow and provide commercially viable small and medium sized enterprises with access to its market.

Through Shoprite Next Capital, the entrepreneurs will be supported with marketing opportunities, working capital assistance, packaging and labelling support, data sharing, product range and geographic expansion.

The support could also include private label partnerships with the retail giant.

“This new division will provide SMMEs with easier entry into the group’s retail market, with direct access to buyers that understand their needs, combined with personalised growth plans that will assist suppliers to scale up gradually,” said Shoprite’s general manager for enterprise and supplier development, Maude Modise.

Speaking at the launch in Johannesburg on Tuesday evening, Modise explained that Shoprite Next Capital is a continuation of the retailer’s mutually beneficial partnership with its small suppliers.

“In the last fiscal year, we procured 32% more than in the previous year, from small suppliers, this has facilitated the expansion of a number of these suppliers both geographically and via product extension,” Modise explained.

Shoprite has always partnered with SMMEs, but the establishment of the division comes with dedicated staff and resources, focused on their needs.

Some of Shoprite’s current suppliers include farming couple Nonhlanhla Mokoena Chimhandamba and Simbarashe Chimhandamba, who provide Shoprite with produce from their Urban Grown Organics business, and chicken feet and neck canning business Tin Stuf, owned by Eiren Drake.

Also present at the launch was Small Business Development Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, who lauded Shoprite for the role it is playing in developing small businesses.

The government has gazetted the National Integrated Small Enterprise Development plan as part of its master plans that are driven by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition.

The minister urged the small business owners who were present at the launch to comment on the plan.

“We would be calling some of you, if you have not made inputs, because I know you guys are so shy to make you voice heard when we gazette legislations until it hits you,” she said.

Ndabeni-Abrahams further urged the entrepreneurs to pay attention to legislation that may affect them.

The government is also bolstering the role it plays in supporting small and medium sized businesses with the launch of a partnership projects team, which will working on cutting red tape – bbc.c