HappyRalinala.pngIn order to revive and strengthen economies around the globe it is imperative to stabilise the fragile world economy and relaunch it on a new growth path that places small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at the centre of the quest for future growth.

Consequently, facilitating SME access is central to Absa’s activities, says Happy Ralinala, Head of Business Banking. She discusses the important role that banks play in creating and facilitating an access-conducive environment for small and medium enterprises, in this month’s SmartProcurement.

Absa’s Enterprise Development (ED) model of providing SME assistance and developing local small businesses is based on three different but interconnected perspectives, namely, access to markets, access to funding and access to non-financial support.

Through this three-pronged value proposition, SME assistance and development transpires through bridging market access to suppliers and buyers through an innovative online procurement portal; financial independence for SMEs through a range of non-traditional funding solutions; and non-financial interventions such as infrastructure, technology, advisory services, informative workshops/seminars and mentorship.

With entrepreneurs and SMEs as the main beneficiaries, Absa Enterprise Development facilitates access by ‘going beyond banking’ and collaborating with various stakeholders such as corporates; government departments (at national, provincial, local and municipality level); state-owned enterprises; non profit organisations; chambers, academic Institutions and service providers.

AbsaAccess.jpgAbsa recently sponsored two initiatives in support of SMEs: the Enterprise Development Grow Conference at Smart Procurement World (which assists corporate South Africa to direct their enterprise development spend and programmes wisely, integrating enterprise development and supplier development into the supply chain) and the prestigious World Association for Small and Medium Enterprises’ (WASME) International Conference on Small and Medium Enterprise (ICSME), which is an annual event that brings together under one roof business support organisations, policy makers, banks and financial institutions, international experts, academics, entrepreneurs and other international and multi-national stakeholders involved in small business development.

This year’s ICSME theme, “Beyond the downturn: Revitalising the global economy through small and medium enterprises” focused on policies, strategies and programmes geared towards growing SMEs. ‘Facilitating SME access’ was the central theme at the Absa Pre-Congress event, which saw between 300 and 400 SMEs in attendance.

To find out more about how Absa Enterprise Development facilitates access, view their e-book here.