South Africa
September 8, 2016

WECONNECT INTERNATIONAL IN SA ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION – CHALLENGES AND SUCCESSES WITH CORPORATES

8 September 2016, Intel Corporation in South Africa hosted a Roundtable Discussion for women business enterprises and corporations. Deaneesha Govender, Chairperson of WEConnect International in South Africa Advisory Council and Commodity Manager for Regional Strategic Sourcing from Intel Corporation facilitated the discussion. WEConnect International corporates in attendance were Lynne Cuzen, Category Lead for Technology and Talent Services from EY; Natalie Musgrave, Media Purchases and Supplier Diversity from Procter & Gamble (P&G); and Jacob Pretorius, Procurement Manager from Johnson & Johnson (JnJ).

The discussion was held to help corporates better understand challenges and successes experienced by women business enterprises. Corporates and women business enterprises also brainstormed on the possible solutions and discussed opportunities.

An open and constructive discussion was held where women business enterprises were encouraged to be as transparent as possible. Challenges discussed included:

  • Cash flow challenges due to late payments from corporates
  • Time delays from introduction to receipt, confirmation of purchases
  • Lack of feedback from corporates on pitches, especially when women business enterprise did not get the contract
  • Understanding the corporates procurement strategies in order to align pitches
  • $600 certification fee being high for small businesses especially with the declining South African Rand currency
  • The need for bank support to assist in funding purchase orders
  • Corporates having work overload and not being able to respond or meet women business enterprises
  • Competition is strife amongst women business enterprises which leads to work being awarded to the large more established organizations or corporates sticking to one women-owned vendor for a service and not allowing others to get a chance.

Corporate attendees also raised their internal and external challenges which impacts their support to women business enterprises. These included genuine work overload to internal teams; leading to delays in giving feedback and responding to WBEs as well as payment processes being out of their control and managed internationally vs locally. Other areas included WEConnect International support teams not always available to attend pitches and therefore unable to provide the appropriate feedback. Corporates also stated that due to reduction exercises in the supply base at a Global level, it has contributed to difficulties in contracting with new vendors.

After identifying the challenges, various solutions and opportunities were discussed. The report from the discussion will be taken to WEConnect International in South Africa Advisory Council in October. This subject has already been discussed with the women business enterprises on the WEConnect International in South Africa bi-weekly call.  The feedback received will be used to help improve the strategy for 2017.

WEConnect International in South Africa would like to thank Deaneesha Govender for her continued support not only as chairperson but also for hosting the largest number of corporate events.