At the Sanlam SanParks SMME Support Programme launch event, held in the Kruger National Park on the date that the United Nations declared Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day (27 June), Sanlam and SanParks said South Africa’s major parks contribute around R3bn to the economy annually, creating and retaining jobs in the SMME sector.
The initial focus will be on businesses around the Kruger National Park as a pilot programme aiming to impact targeted SMMEs as identified in the SanParks overall supply management plan and will run for a one-year period.
Selected SMMEs will receive short-term working capital through interest-free loans to supply SanParks with goods and services in and around the Kruger.
Sanlam will contribute R10m in loan support to these businesses, and development support will be implemented by I Am An Entrepreneur (IAAE), an enterprise development agency experienced in helping entrepreneurs build and grow their businesses.
The programme aims to create sustainable SMMEs with the capability to deliver goods and services to SanParks, thereby preserving and potentially contributing to job creation in and around Kruger National Park.
Karl Socikwa, group executive: market development & sustainability at Sanlam said this is an example of the group’s deep commitment to sustainable growth on the African continent.
“SMMEs are critical to the South African economy, they’re a major lever for growth. In fact, the National Development Plan forecasts SMMEs will create 90% of the 11 million new jobs our country desperately needs. This will not happen unless we, as part of South Africa’s corporate community, play our part,” he said.
For SanParks, the programme forms part of a broader strategy to uplift SMMEs in the communities surrounding its parks. The organisation aims to secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.
SanParks CEO Hapiloe Sello expressed her appreciation to Sanlam for the business development support initiatives saying, “our incubation programme has yielded a group of young, determined entrepreneurs who have shown eagerness to transact with the park and to promote rural economic development”.
SMMEs that are contracted to SanParks and are interested in accessing the programme should liaise directly with the SanParks Supply Chain Management unit at the Kruger National Park.