Smart Procurement World Empowers Small Business Owners

Updated on 14 September 2017

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Smart Procurement World Empowers Small Business Owners

Sharpening business acumen and access to market opportunities are some of the ways in which the “ESD Expo Grow” competition winner will benefit from the competition prizes.

Smart Procurement World (SPW) has been hosting the annual Smart Procurement World Conference for the past 11 years, with the Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) Expo, running for six years, co-located with the SPW Conference.

The Conference and Expo provides a platform for entrepreneurs to network, explore possible business opportunities and engage meaningfully with procurement decision makers with the aim of growing their businesses through leads generated from suppliers.

It also offers a great opportunity to over a thousand corporate buyers and other procurement officials from both the public and private sectors to network, keep abreast of global trends and best practice.

‘An Opportunity To Grow’ 

Interested in understanding the value and the impact the ESD Expo has on the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) who attend the Conference and exhibit at the Expo, Smart Procurement World launched its first annual “ESD Expo Grow” competition in July 2017. The competition encouraged SMMEs to share their stories on how the exposure provided by this platform has empowered and transformed their businesses.

The “ESD Expo Grow” competition, with prizes with a combined value of over R10 000, provided insight on the positive impact the Expo has on SMMEs. The prizes included facilitated meetings with over ten procurement buyers and complimentary procurement training among other.

The winner, Sabelo Sibanda, co-founder and CEO of Millbug has been running the electronics manufacturing company, from Port Elizabeth, since 2012. Together with co-founder and COO, Thulisile Volwana, they were not deterred by challenges they endured while growing their business. Some of their highlights include developing Africa’s first solar powered tablet PC in 2013 and this year they were the first African company to exhibit at the 2016 Gartner Symposium.

“I am grateful to Shanduka Black Umbrellas for sponsoring my participation at the SPW Conference and ESD Expo. Winning the competition and exhibiting at the Expo has opened up incredible trade opportunities. Access to markets is a very real challenge SMEs face and the prize on offer solves this problem substantially. My team and I are very excited and grateful for the opportunity to grow our company,” says Sabelo Sibanda, co-founder and CEO, Millbug.

“All the stories we received were emotive and not only made selecting the winner difficult but provided us with insights on the positive impact the Conference and Expo has on the SMMEs. It is heart-warming to hear how we have influenced thought processes, understanding of legislation and exposing them to market access opportunities has been of great benefit,” says Debbie Tagg, COO, Smart Procurement World.

“The SPW Conference and ESD Expo continue to empower SMMEs who have now become meaningful contributors to South Africa’s economy, offer employment opportunities and grow their businesses among other.”

The annual SPW Conference and ESD Expo will take place on 19 -20 September 2017 at Gallagher Estate. For more information go to

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