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Accenture’s impactful ESD programme lauded at industry awards

Accenture South Africa became the proud recipient of the Nation Builder Award at the Absa Business Day Supplier Development Awards this week, in recognition for the tangible impact that the company’s Enterprise Supplier Development (ESD) programme has on small businesses, the ICT industry and the South African economy. Now in its second year, the Absa Business Day Supplier Development Awards recognise businesses that are committed to building thriving, inclusive and transformed supply chains through the implementation of supplier development best practices and successful ESD initiatives that create lasting impact in the local economy.

‘We are extremely proud to be recognised in the Nation Builder category, as it is arguably the most contested and prestigious award among the six categories. It also recognises the tangible impact of our ESD programme and affirms that Accenture remains at the forefront of social upliftment and empowerment in the country,’ explained Zandile Njamela, Enterprise Supplier Development lead for Accenture in Africa. ‘At Accenture, we understand that our ultimate success is intricately linked to South Africa’s prosperity as a nation. We are, therefore, committed to unlocking South Africa’s abundance for all by building a sustainable economy that can address the needs of all citizens.’ Njamela said that supplier development must become a national imperative for the private sector and support government’s efforts to realise the country’s economic growth ambitions.

Accenture’s ESD programme forms part of a broader strategy that addresses grass-roots challenges in areas such as skills development and job creation through a range of learnerships, internships and socio-economic development and preferential procurement programmes that benefit both the ICT sector and society as a whole. The programme includes executive training, mentorship and business development support leveraging Accenture’s capabilities for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) business owners, to assist them in building innovative, agile and sustainable businesses. It also provides access to market via opportunities within Accenture’s supply chain or those of its clients to drive value both internally and externally.

The company’s procurement processes also promote the use of black women-owned suppliers and business partners. Accenture is also committed to paying invoices from SMEs within 10 days after submission to assist with cash flow. More than 400 entries were received this year from both private and public sector enterprises, representing a wide array of industries, including healthcare, mining, manufacturing and the built environment. Entries were adjudicated by a panel of industry experts, who acknowledged leading organisations with successful ESD programmes that are making a lasting impact beyond simple scorecard compliance.

‘These businesses are moving beyond the scorecard and realise they have a corporate and social responsibility to transform their supply chain, diversify procurement and actively engage in real Enterprise and Supplier Development initiatives,’ said Catherine Wijnberg, CEO of Fetola, who co-created the Supplier Development Awards with Cold Press Media and Tiso Blackstar Group.‘The calibre of this year’s entries was notable, with some applicants displaying a clear step change in their initiatives since last year. This is a clear indicator that supplier development is a way to build future strategic advantage and, when coupled with stronger industry networks and a long-term view on supporting the successful growth of small suppliers, delivers a future competitive advantage and a better future for all,’ concluded Wijnberg.

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