The app mentor’s expertise will range from procurement, merchandising, compliance, supply chain, financial management, marketing and human resources.
To launch the app, Pick n Pay hosted a ‘speed dating’ event in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Suppliers from its Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) programme were invited to meet over 150 of the mentors in a speed dating setting and had five minutes to learn what value they could add to their business. This was followed by an opportunity to further engage with the potential mentors they identified.
Mishinga Seyuba Kombo, Head of Pick n Pay Enterprise and Supplier Development, says that while entrepreneurs are passionate people with a very clear vision of what they want to achieve, many don’t always have, or have access to, the expertise they need grow their business.
“Small businesses seldom have finance, operations or HR directors. As they grow, this is the kind of expertise they need to ensure they are successful and sustainable. So through the app, at no cost to them, we offer our small suppliers access to a network of Pick n Pay mentors who can offer guidance, their expertise, experience and knowledge of real life challenges and how to solve them.
Seyuba Kombo explains that the app will formalise the mentorship that has been happening informally at Pick n Pay for a few years now. “Many experts in our business have been helping us empower small suppliers to get them ready to list their products or services with us and other retailers.”
She gave the example of how the head of Pick n Pay’s butchery worked closely with pig farmer, Anna Phosa, to help grow her business from supplying three pigs a week to over 300.
Ntombi Nonxuba from Rise Uniform, a clothing manufacturing company that supplies uniforms to Pick n Pay stores nationwide, says Pick n Pay’s head of finance helped put her vision and plan into numbers.
“I call them my strategic partners because they are really interested in my business. When I started my business, I didn’t know anything about cash flow, projections or plans. I just knew I wanted to make uniforms. Since 2014, my mentor has guided and directed me every step of the way, but she did it with me, never for me. And this is the best way to learn, otherwise I’d still be hanging onto her back today,” says Nonxuba.
“The app means more entrepreneurs will now have easy access to the mentorship they need most in their business. Through the app, our small suppliers can search for the expertise they require and request a meeting with a click of a button,” concludes Seyuba Kombo
The PnP Mentorship app launched internally in November 2019 and already over 150 Pick n Pay staff members have been verified on the app. Small suppliers need to be part of the PnP Enterprise and Supplier Development programme to have access to the mentorship app.