Our business support
As an organisation, we have committed significant resources to help bridge the gap between education and finding gainful work. While our work in this regard remains incredibly important, the reality is that many Africans - especially our youth - will need to create their own opportunities.
A key way we are responding to this challenge is through our support of entrepreneurship and small business - a true example of shared value. Although small businesses are a key customer base for our organisation, they are also a critical driver of employment creation.
However, many small businesses need access to business development skills to improve effectiveness and productivity; access to markets; knowledge of networks to leverage existing opportunities; and access to appropriate development finance, products and services.
Our enterprise development programmes focus on stimulating economic growth by providing emerging small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with access to finance, products, services and business opportunities. We enable their growth and development by providing entrepreneurs with training, business development support, and access to markets.
Our key initiatives
Business Development Support (BDS)
We provide aspirant entrepreneurs and small business owners with business development services to start and grow their businesses. This work is often delivered through partnerships, for example, the development of digital BDS tools such as the Awethu Virtual Incubator App with the Awethu Project, a South African social enterprise with footprint across our markets.
We also focus on key segments and sectors for the bank, for example, working with organisations such as Technoserve, to provide training and acceleration to emerging farmers in support of our agricultural team. We also support FinTech innovation and collaboration through accelerator programmes such as RISE (pan-Africa) and Elev8 (Mauritius).
Corporate value chain lending to emerging SMEs
We provide SMEs within corporate and government value chains with access to innovative cash-flow-based finance to address the challenges that many small businesses have in being unable to access funding due to lack of collateral or balance sheet. Certain SMEs are also put into mentoring/incubation programmes, funded by Absa Group, to provide the necessary business and financial skills to run a successful business.
Preferential procurement and supplier development with qualifying SMEs
As an organisation, we spend a significant amount of money procuring goods and services annually. Our inclusive procurement practices and supply chain development programmes provide entrepreneurs with access to business opportunities, addressing the challenges they have, such as being unable to access markets.