Corporates That Played a Role to Better SA’s Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in 2019

Updated on 2 December 2019

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Enterprise and Supplier Development

Besides Enterprise and Supplier Development programmes, in 2019 we saw several corporates champion entrepreneurship and collaborate with organisations and programmes aimed at empowering entrepreneurs with skills training, funding and support.

Here is how several corporates played their part in advancing the local entrepreneurship ecosystem:

Enterprise and Supplier Development

Exxaro Resources and Barloworld Equipment

Mining giant, Exxaro Resources recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a three-year, non-exclusive partnership with Barloworld Equipment which will see contractors have access to required mining operations equipment at competitive rates and terms, as well as additional post-acquisition support to enable the contractors to execute operational projects.

The mining company noted that contractors awarded work lack the means to purchase or lease the equipment required to enable them to execute the project.

Barloworld Equipment is an equipment dealer for construction and mining equipment and genuine Cat parts. The partnership aims to help some of Exxaro’s contractors.



The SA SME Fund, the R1.4 billion fund founded by 50 JSE corporates and supported by South African government, together with accelerator AfricArena, launched the SA Startup Nation Challenge in July this year.  The challenge will see the country’s top 12 tech startups pitch at AfricArena Tour events hosted in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Three winners will walk with several prizes, including a trip to Vivatech in Paris in May 2020 to showcase their offerings at the biggest European tech event of the year.

In September this year, the SA SME Fund and the government’s Technology Innovation Agency announced a public-private partnership to co-invest R350 million across three venture capital funds. This comes after Ventureburn reported that the SA SME Fund will invest in eight funds, three of which are venture capital (VC) funds and also back a local accelerator, AfricArena.

Stakeholders of the Exxaro Resources and Barloworld Equipment partnership. (Image supplied)

Business support


CWDi, a marketing agency, once again rolled out their 67 Logos initiative. Launched in 2018, the initiative sees 67 designers come together in Johannesburg and Cape Town to design 67 logos for 67 small businesses – all in one day in celebration of Mandela Day on 18 July.

“For many small businesses, owning an expertly designed logo is an ever-elusive goal.

“We wanted our initiative to have lasting impact and to help these entrepreneurs stand out in the South African market,” they state on their website.

If you are a small business and would like to receive a logo, 2020 applications will open in March 2020.

Heineken South Africa

Beer brewing company, Heineken, is currently working with its retail partners within Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and the Free State to address some of the challenges that are standing in the way of their business’s growth. Some of the support provided includes the provision of tables and chairs, storage containers, installation of CCTV cameras for enhanced security, generators, double door refrigerators, as well as other catering equipment like ice buckets and table cloths.

The company commissioned research to find out the kinds of constraints that their market partners face which constrain their growth and profitability. The research also provided insights into what actions should be taken for these establishments including wholesale retailers who support establishments such as taverns, shebeens and liquor-licensed restaurants, to achieve success.

First National Bank (FNB)

FNB launched First Bank Zero, a service for sole proprietor businesses with an annual turnover of up to R5 million. The aim of this service is to save entrepreneurs money with features like a no monthly account fee, unlimited free POS card swipes, inter-operable QR code for accepting payments, linked saving pocket to ring-fence savings and earn interest, and an FNB Connect SIM card that includes free data, minutes and SMSs (up to 100mb data, 30 voice minutes, 30 SMSs).

This account can be opened on the FNB App, using the “Selfie” process to identity and verify the user. Sole proprietor business owners can also make use of free access to FNB Business’ unique suite of free value-added services, including instant accounting software, invoicing, cash flow and payroll.

30 entrepreneurs being welcomed on stage at Orange Corners 2019 launch. (Image supplied)


Investec Private Banking, in partnership with Qhubeka Charity and enke: Mark Your Mark, awarded 40 bikes to 36 aspiring South African entrepreneurs, who will be starting up small businesses within the Kagiso township, west of Johannesburg.

This forms part of the Young Professionals Revolution that Investec Private Banking pioneered in celebration of Human Rights Day on 21 March. 192 young professionals, in 40 teams, came together in Johannesburg for a marathon 18-hour session to pool their skills and talents to envision and map out scalable business ideas that could run on a basic utility bike.

A total of 36 business ideas were formulated, ranging from cake delivery, ‘Audio Village’ (entertainment), chronic medication delivery, ‘education on wheels’, creation and selling of art, mobile spaza shops, beauty services and a cleaning business (for takkies, cars and dustbins) to name just a few.

Education and training

Heineken South Africa

Heineken South Africa announced that 30 entrepreneurs had been selected to participate in the 2019 Orange Corners entrepreneurial programme. The Orange Corners initiative aims to help local entrepreneurs with tools to equip their businesses to thrive.

The group of 30 people includes 11 entrepreneurs and micro enterprise founders from Diepsloot, operating businesses such as poultry farming, catering, car washes, and construction and clothing branding services.


To empower entrepreneurs, Facebook provides digital training and skills development. This is their way of investing in small business owners to ultimately contribute to economic growth. The tools that Facebook offers to entrepreneurs include the following:

  • Digital Training Hub: Free online courses that can help participants take the next step, with expert tips from the Facebook team.
  • Facebook blueprint online training in digital marketing to help users to build their business or marketing career.
  • Boost your business workshops in partnership with Digify Africa. The workshops provide businesses with the most up-to-date tools, insights, and best practices for achieving success on Facebook and Instagram.
  • #SheMeansBusiness: Training provided to communities and the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders to better understand and utilise the power of digital tools for economic growth.

First National Bank (FNB)

FNB launched Fundaba, a free interactive e-learning business education platform, which can be found on the FNB banking app. Fundaba offers multimedia content like videos, podcasts, quizzes, templates and tools for FNB customers to learn about the different stages of running a business.

This educational programme consists of several modules across the four lifecycle stages of a business, which are to incubate, start, run and grow. The audio and video content is available in five local languages including, IsiZulu, isiXhosa, Sesotho, English and Afrikaans.

The  Fundaba interface on the FNB app.

Tumbo Scott Incorporated

In celebration of Mandela Day this year, the Sandton-based corporate and commercial law firm hosted 67 entrepreneurs for an information session on compliance for SMMEs as well as an open Q&A session for any commercial legal questions the entrepreneurs might have.

The free workshop aimed to empower SMMEs with basic knowledge and skills required to remain compliant with the existing laws and regulations that affect them.


Volkswagen partnered with the Lionesses of Africa this year to help in the development and empowerment of the organisation’s over 600 000 female entrepreneurs across 54 African countries. The Lionesses of Africa is a social enterprise organisation, which provides women entrepreneurs with free access to development- and mentoring programmes, business tools, digital media channels, community platforms and networking events.

Thus far, Volkswagen has hosted six Lean In Breakfasts which have been attended by over 600 entrepreneurs. The Lean In Breakfasts are events where women share their entrepreneurial experiences, learn from one another, network and generate new business opportunities.

See also: Your Ultimate ESD Guide (Part 1) – What do SMEs REALLY Get out of ESD Programmes?

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