How to join Woolworths’ enterprise programme | Opportunities | Small Business Connect

Jackie Goliath

Becoming a Woolworths supplier and being considered for the retail giant’s enterprise development programme is not for the faint-hearted, but has massive pay-offs for business owners who persevere.

The retailer’s supplier development initiative is unique in that a business first has to meet its strict product requirements and successfully make it onto the Woolworths’ supplier base – even if it is on very small scale – before it can be considered for the programme.

This ensures that entrepreneurs with the biggest potential and drive benefit from Woolworths’ support which includes financial assistance, guaranteed business, skills development as well as mentorship and the assistance of experts. This also ensures that the suppliers receive guaranteed business from Woolworths.

“The Woolworths Enterprise Development (ED) programme has been designed primarily to support emerging black-owned organisations in the Woolworths greater supply chain, including primary and secondary suppliers. Based on an individual needs analysis approach, Woolworths is able to assist emerging black-owned suppliers to become truly sustainable businesses,” said Zinzi Mgolodela, Woolworths head of black economic empowerment.

The assistance provided through the programme includes shorter payment terms to boost cash flow. Mgolodela said they would also identify areas that need further development and provide interventions to fill these gaps. Finance is also available through the ED loan fund.

To ensure these businesses are truly sustainable after the programme, Woolworths provide support for a three to five year period.

Currently 51 businesses are benefiting from Woolworths support, more than R27 million in loans have been approved and the programme has created business opportunities worth R650-million for these enterprises.

The programme has also been a major contributor to job creation with more than 5000 people either employed or supported by these small enterprises.

Mgolodela says the first step to joining the programme was to become a supplier which cost nothing more than a call or e-mail to the buyer group and pitching a proposal.

“For example Jacky Goliath of De Fynne Nursery phoned our horticulture department with her proposal.”

Before giving the green light to a supplier’s products to be stocked on Woolworths shelves, the supplier must first adhere to very strict product requirements, which differ from one department to another.

If Mgolodela and her team see development potential in a business beyond its means, the business then becomes part of the programme.

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