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As part of its commitment to creating sustainable communities and to emphasise the importance of Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in growing local economies and helping create jobs, Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) this week launched its flagship Supplier Development Programme (SDP).

As part of the launch RBM also honoured the first cohort of beneficiaries of the Supplier Development Programme. The beneficiaries represent diverse businesses from manufacturing to purified water. All these suppliers went through the most vigour process of vetting and gap analysis identification and yet through it all they stood firm as they all displayed a hunger to learn and to better their businesses.

The two-year-long programme helps deliver on this commitment through the development of technical skills, providing funding support and facilitating a broader access to markets for programme participants.

At the launch, Werner Duvenhage, RBM`s Managing Director, said: “Our aim is to create an inclusive procurement process that will allow us to shift spend to local SMEs and transform our supply chain. It is imperative that our supplier development and procurement efforts are geared towards addressing unemployment and poverty alleviation, two of the most pressing challenges in our country, particularly in rural areas.”

The company’s commitment to SME development is closely aligned to the regulatory requirement of the Mining Charter III, which seeks to improve the procurement of goods and services from historically disadvantaged persons (HDP).

“Our mandate is to create an environment where suppliers from our host communities could compete in procurement opportunities whilst ensuring that they have the capacity and technical skills required to fulfil contractual obligations as they remain commercially viable and competitive” said Lebogang Kgomongwe, RBM Supplier Development Manager.

A key success factor to supplier development is a holistic approach to the business development lifecycle which starts with the identification of preferential procurement opportunities in the business. “As an organisation we believe that if done right, supplier development can indeed empower our local suppliers and help to bring about strong supply chain that can help build sustainable businesses,” added Kgomongwe. Duvenhage added that the Supplier Development Programme has a deliberate focus on women and youth as the two groups usually are at the receiving end of unemployment and limited opportunities for growth and development.

By Zambezzi

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