On 4 July 2018, Accenture, in collaboration with the South African Supplier Diversity Council (SASDC) and WEConnect International in South Africa, hosted a one-day SME Business Link at their Woodmead offices The room had several tier-one Accenture suppliers, various corporate members, which included WEConnect South African corporate members like Absa and Cummins, and women business owners in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, who are affiliated with WEConnect International in South Africa.
Zandile Njamela, Supplier Inclusion & Diversity: ESDP Lead at Accenture, welcomed all the guests to the event which was an information-sharing session on procurement as well as a networking session for all those in attendance.
To start the morning, Kabelo Makwane, Managing Director of Operations at Accenture gave an in-depth review on what Accenture expected from its potential suppliers in the current disruptive technology age. According to Makwane, "Emerging technologies are changing the business environment; from cloud, social, big data, analytics to artificial intelligence (AI): hence, the professional consulting services and technology needs of most businesses are changing. Makwane stressed that SMEs were essential to the fourth industrial revolution because they can be more entrepreneurial, agile and innovative in providing services to the business sector. This means innovative entrepreneurs have the opportunity to leverage their position to offer solutions targeted at solving new problems."
In his endnote, Makwane highlighted that, for example, the growing need for skilled Java, web and mobile platform "developers who are becoming sort after by most businesses today, regardless of industry because of the platforms and application ecosystems that are important to most large enterprises and have become essential to their business success given the way in which these business need to reach interact with their customers, skills which SME’s can recruit."
The day closed with business pitches from the SMEs in attendance. Certified women’s business enterprises (WBEs) Ngwana Matloa for Abot Technology and Marilyn Radebe from Soma Solutions delivered a powerful one-minute business pitch and each won the first and second prize from Accenture.