The seventh annual Enterprise & Supplier Development Expo, in partnership with Smart Procurement World and the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply Africa, was held September 17th-20th at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg. The annual sourcing exhibition brings together procurement, purchasing and buying professionals, from both government and the private sector, together to offer attendees access to key information about specific procurements procudres, needs and requirements.
Exhibitors range from various sectors including procurement service providers, suppliers of goods and services, consultants, regulatory bodies and interest groups, as well as Enterprise Development (ED) solution providers. Several corporates & ED providers had booked pavilions which had several exhibition booths for the SMEs they are working with.
This year, seven WEConnect International in South Africa Certified Women Business Owners were allocated exhibition stands to showcase their businesses. This was made possible through sponsorship from Johnson & Johnson South Africa, represented by the GS Sourcing Team Lead Jacob Pretorius, who sits as the Chairperson of the Advisory Council of WEConnect International inSouth Africa. The WBEs included: Blendwell Chemicals, Pentanqué Consultancy, Red Box Marketing, Reve Productions, Southern African Institute of Learning, Win Win Solutions 4 Africa and The Customer Experience Lab. Johnson & Johnson SA continues to exhibit a strong commitment to advancing the work and growth of women owned businesses.
The event also presented the opportunity for WEConnect International and Johnson & Johnson to build on the relationships formed at the Gauteng Township Entrepreneurs Networking event hosted with the Gauteng Department of Economic Development in August. Two of the winning women entrepreneurs from that event, Balemi and Lalakain Trading (Pty) Ltd, were sponsored by Johnson & Johnson to exhibit their enterprises along with self-registered women-owned business Equitable Proxies.
“Smart Procurement World gave J&J the opportunity to give the woman-owned businesses access to market,” said Johnson & Johnson’s Jacob Pretorius. “This was a great event and showed how J&J can give back to the society we live and work in by growing the woman-owned businesses that work in it. Growing woman-owned businesses will grow the economy.”
In preparing for the Smart Procurement event one women-owned business came up with her first branding strategy. Nolwazi expressed that she feels that the support and encouragement she has received from Johnson & Johnson, WEConnect international & the Gauteng Provincial government for their business has given her the vigour to expand her business into other markets.
“Winning the pitching competition on that day gave me the confidence to go out and present my business to more people and platforms,” says Nolwazi. “Moreover, the sponsorship from Johnson & Johnson to display at the conference helped me to see my company’s blind spots.”
The Smart procurement conference also allowed Jean Chawapiwa, Market Lead for WEConnect International in South Africa, and her team to meet many new women business owners and corporates. “This was a great opportunity to tell new audiences about the benefits of self-registration and certification with WEConnect international.”
The Smart Procurement exhibition provided an occasion which WEConnect International succeeded in reaching a new audience in South Africa, with over 3,000 attendees throughout the day. The WEConnect International in South Africa team also took part in the match making session to tell the corporates about supplier diversity and inclusion and the benefits of corporate membership with WEConnect International.