By Portia Nkani
The Minister responsible for citizen economic empowerment – Bogolo Kenewendo has emphasized on the need to develop collaborative ecosystems for both large multinational companies and local suppliers in an effort to facilitate industrial development and enterprise growth.
Kenewendo was speaking last Friday at Barclays Bank Botswana’s launch of Arona Bread Basket, a bakers confectionery in Phakalane. Arona is the first Botswana’s Small Macro Enterprise (SME) funded out of Barclays’ Enterprise and Supply Chain Development (ESD) offering in Botswana.
Owned by Fannie Gwizi, Arona has already managed to break a deal with, Woolworths becoming the first multinational retail in localizing aspects of their supply chain and providing the required market place for Arona Bread Basket.
Minister Kenewendo indicated that her Ministry is already engaging with not only retail sector but the private sector representatives in different fora to drive the industrial development and enterprise growth.
“We are committed to building productive capacity of local suppliers to meet the quality standards and demand for the retailers. We are calling upon retailers to collaborate with us in fulfilling this initiative. These relationships will go a long way in empowering local companies creating employment and contributing to building local productive capacity of SMEs,” she noted.
Under ESD, Barclays offer non-traditional financing to SME’s that are supplying or distributing goods and services to our corporate Businesses. The Banks’ Managing Director, Reinette Ven der Merwe said this financing is predominantly non-collateralized and requires less stringent documentation, allowing for greater financial inclusion to main stream bank lending to the SME sector.
She added, “ESD is one of the three pillars to our shared growth philosophy and looks to unlock key challenges faced by SME’s across the continent and indeed here in Botswana being; Lack of access to markets; Lack of access to finance and; Inadequate capacity building.”
The ESD offering was launched locally just over a year ago following successful launches in South Africa and Kenya. The Bank has said it remains open to new partnerships especially in the Public Sector where it can adopt the same ESD model to make an even more meaningful impact with SME’s.