Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  13 Aug 2010

EMPOWERMENT: Edcon is Commited to Empowerment


Recent Gauteng Business News

For the past three years South Africa’s leading clothing, footwear, home wear and accessories retailer, Edcon has been committed to transformation by increasing the company’s positive impact on Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE). Since 2008, the company has achieved close to 60% of their Level 3 BBBEE target for 2014 by becoming a Level 5 BBBEE contributor in the financial year ending 31 March 2009.

“Transformation is our business,” says Edcon Stakeholder Relations Manager, Laverne Leibrandt. “A key business imperative for the company is to become an exemplary model of transformation across the trade markets and communities in which it operates. Part of our strategy to achieving this is to empower BBBEE-compliant businesses owned by black individuals, women and people with disabilities via our Enterprise Development and Preferential Procurement programmes.”

In 2009 several suppliers in various areas of the business, such as maintenance, electricians and tiling, were assessed to determine areas for development. The outcome of this assessment was used to introduce various internal supplier training initiatives by Edcon’s Enterprise Development Services, resulting in 13 new small to medium supplier businesses being assessed and trained by the Group.

“The programme was developed to provide existing suppliers with additional skills to help them grow their businesses, and thereby enable them to provide better quality services,” says Laverne.

In 2010 Edcon increased its Supplier Development programme budget which resulted in the training of new suppliers including the introduction of supplier workshops through one of the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) accredited rating agencies. The monthly workshops are specifically designed to educate existing Edcon suppliers about BBBEE-compliance.

As part of non-monetary support to BBBEE-compliant suppliers, Edcon also provides free rental space to black or black women service providers operating on Edcon’s premises with turnover of less than R35 million. These include Mayibambele Mailing Services, owned by Michael Mrwetyana; Tshepang Interior Office Plan C, owned by Abraham Mokgethwa; and Khenda Marketing Solutions, owned by Zak Dhladhla.

Zak Dhladhla from Johannesburg is the owner of The Brown Table gift and flower shop, which is situated at Edcon Head Office in Johannesburg, and has been operating rent free for just under a year. Zak believes that Edcon does far more than simply provide opportunities to BBBEE-compliant suppliers. “The Group helps its’ suppliers grow their own businesses,” he says. “By providing training, coaching and specialised assistance in the form of financial and management expertise, Edcon seeks to help the entrepreneur grow his/her business and provide a better service to their customers.”

Similarly, earlier this year, Edcon donated over 100 fridges and cold rooms to 80 small enterprises, whose gross annual income was less than R5million each.

Beneficiaries included tuck shops, catering companies, farming co-operatives (poultry, vegetables, dairy) and general dealers. According to Laverne, Edcon worked with key stakeholders throughout the selection process, including Government and organised business organisations. “Instead of selling these assets,” she explained, “Edcon decided to donate them to different enterprises as a way of boosting small businesses across the country.”

Buda Farming Enterprise in Bapsfonetien, Mpumalanga was the beneficiary of a deep freeze and two fridge-freezers, says owner of Buda Farming Enterprise, Sarah Buda, “We’re a fledgling business and the donation meant that our cold storage process improved significantly, as did our competitive advantage. With the operational boost our business received from the new equipment, we hope to grow our existing vegetable supplier contract with Pick n Pay.”


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