SOUTH AFRICA – Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) has announced its support to the growth and development of small and medium enterprises in the country through its SME Fund.

The company has committed R100 million (us$5.6m) over five years to help suppliers and SMEs access finance to deliver on existing or new contracts and promote their growth and sustainability.

In an effort to show support, the fund launched in April 2019, has a been rebranded to Khulanathi, which means “grow with us” in isiZulu.

CCBSA employee Sibusiso Khathi from KwaZulu Natal who came up with the winning entry for the name of the SME growth fund highlighted that his inspiration stemmed from his believe that, “The growth and success of the whole community is more beneficial than individual growth.”

The SME sector is widely seen as critical to economic recovery following the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic as they are engines of job creation and innovation and will, along with infrastructure development, be key to driving up economic growth in South Africa in the coming years.

However, many SME’s struggle to scale up while meeting the exacting standards of large corporates and ensuring continuity of supply.

The CCBSA Khulanathi SME Fund helps to overcome obstacles to growth, including access to affordable finance.

CCBSA Head of Procurement Transformation, Busisiwe Thusi said the fund will, “Empower black-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as part of our commitment to transform our procurement spend and accelerate the growth and development of SMEs.

“By working with and empowering these businesses to grow, we can help unlock a better future for enterprising individuals, their families and employees. In fact, the growth of small and medium sized enterprises augers well for their communities as money can circulate there, something that is very key to the growth of communities.

“Our commitment is to create shared value for the business and our host communities whose development is tightly linked to ours.”

Managed by Edge Growth, the CCBSA Khulanathi SME Fund is focused on SMEs who are procurement ready and especially existing CCBSA suppliers and other SMEs with the potential to enter CCBSA’s supply chain.

The fund provides growth finance of between R1m – R10m, primarily for capex/ growth (asset purchases – excluding land) with an ability to finance working capital.

Qualifying SMEs (suppliers) must be a 51% Black-Owned Qualifying Small Enterprise (QSE) or Exempt Micro Enterprise (EME)

“The CCBSA Khulanathi SME Fund complements our other procurement transformation and economic inclusion initiatives which collectively, are aimed at helping to build a more diverse and inclusive economy that creates opportunities and a better future for all,” said Thusi.

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