FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
4 JUNE 2016
 
Smart Procurement World Conference in Patnership with EThekwini Municipality Shifting Gears for Small Business to Meet Big Business
Bridging the gap between small and big business is paramount to the efforts of the eThekwini’s Supply Chain Management Unit (SCMU), as it formally announced its partnership agreement to host the first ever Smart Procurement World Conference in Durban taking place from the 8th and 9th June 2016 at the Durban International Convention Center.
 
During the official media briefing yesterday, 3 June, the SCMU highlighted the conference as an integral platform for business to grow in Durban. Deputy Head of Supply Chain Management, Sandile Ngcobo said, “We are excited to be bringing a world class conference to Durban. I have attended the conference before when hosted in other provinces and noted the benefits available for small business owners and for our supply chain unit team.”
 
The Smart Procurement World Conference is geared towards providing a business platform for small businesses to engage with supply chain heads, chief buyers, procurement officers, supply chain managers, compliance managers and purchasing managers. Mr Thabang Tshishonga, Commercial Manager of Smart Procurement World stated, “The conference has many facets to it in terms of activities. We have the Procurement professional’s conference, known as the Smart Procurement World conference. Then there is the Smart Supplier Conference that focuses on Enterprise Supplier Development (ESD), this is getting small business ready to engage large corporates through opportunities such as speed networking with buyers.”
 
Also expected to take place between the 8th and 9th June are the Knowledge Hub Sessions and the ESD Expo, that offers attending SMME’s the opportunity to showcase their services, products and offerings for procurement professionals to view. Thabang Tshishonga added that, “These two dimensions of the conference are open to the public and businesses at large with no charge, to engage expert speakers presenting at the Knowledge Hub sessions as well as view the businesses that are thriving in and around Durban.”
 
In attendance at the media briefing were 5 entrepreneur’s that are part of 40 small business owners that have been sponsored by the City to attend the ESD Expo and showcase their business. The businesses taking part in the conference are Megaphase Road Signage, Ntokazi Catering and Events, RGM Furniture and Manufacturing, Shalom Laboratory Supply and Muzip Construction. These businesses have shown potential in providing specialized services that have received outstanding recommendations from buyers. They are sector specific to the business sectors anticipated to attend the Smart Procurement Conference and are meeting the standard criteria of enterprise supplier development which aligns itself to the business regulations.
 
Head of EThekwini Supply Chain Management Unit Andre Peterson touched on the importance of small business contributing to the national mandate of local content. He stated, “We as the Supply Chain Unit of eThekwini acknowledge the mandate that has been given to us to source locally produced products and offerings. It is therefore imperative that we create dialogue with small businesses in Durban to educate them on these requirements and the starting point for us is through the Smart Procurement World Conference.” He added that, “While we are aware that not all products or offerings can be locally sourced we want to encourage SMME’s within the sectors of manufacturing and ICT to look within eThekwini and KZN to produce proudly South African content.”
 
Officially welcoming the Smart Procurement World team to the city, Speaker of eThekwini Municipality, Cllr Logie Naidoo shared that, “Procurement is a much talked about issue, one that is controversial at times and requires a balancing act from the both public and private sector business. As the city we are pleased to know that a conference of this nature assists us in moving towards becoming a Smart City.” Further to his statement, “When people in their local communities see a clinic, library or a community hall being built where they live. One then needs to realize that there was a starting point and that point is procurement.”
 
Naidoo shared this in light of the recent budget adoption by eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo highlighting the growth of the budget from R31.7 billion in 2011 to R41.6 billion this year. The City’s capital budget has grown from R5.3 billion to R6.7 billion. The budget is sighted as a strategic response to the economic climate, yet also represents the views of residents, businesses and other stakeholders. The Supply Chain Unit has prioritised to meet the requests of the City leadership by ensuring that this financial year it addresses economic growth and development. It will also address financial stability, human capital development and job creation.
 
This partnership is viewed as a great linkage between buyers and the suppliers. Offering an exchange of ideas in the region and to facilitate the buy-in from private businesses, within KwaZulu Natal. We foresee a projected revenue from the expo of R500 000 with a projected growth of 30% for businesses operating in and around eThekwini Municipality. The base of these estimations is from the business positioning of the two other conferences Smart Procurement World has hosted.
 
This is a world class event taking place on the shores of the warmest city and one of the leading economic hubs in South Africa. We thefefore encourage small business owners, corporates, public sector members and public to attend the Enterprise Supplier Development Expo to show support to businesses thriving in Durban.
 
For further information about the conference, please contact Amanda Mathe on the following details: Cell No. 074 222 38 or Tel No. 031 206 230
ENDS
 
Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Head of Communications, Tozi Mthethwa.
 
For more information members of the media can contact Municipal spokesman Thulani Mbatha on 031 311 4820 or email: thulani.mbatha1@durban.gov.za or Princess Nkabane on 031 311 4818 or princess.nkabane@durban.gov.za
 
 
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