According to a report released by McKinsey Group, SMEs across South Africa represent more than 98 percent of businesses, employ between 50 and 60 percent of the country’s workforce across all sectors, and are responsible for a quarter of job growth in the private sector. Formal SMEs contribute up to 40% of national income. The importance of SMEs is even higher when informal SMEs are included. One can safely say, SMEs are crucial to meeting the challenges of unemployment, inequality and transformation.

For the past decade, the South African Supplier Diversity Council has recognised the vital role black business can play in supporting the National Development Plan for 2030. As such, the SASDC has made it our mission to facilitate linkages between certified black owned businesses and corporate members who support this cause of creating a diverse, transformed and inclusive economy.  To this end, the SASDC provides a host of different advisory and implementation services to its corporate members for enabling supplier diversity in its supply chains and unlocking procurement opportunities for black businesses.

Making an impact

One such member, intent on making an impact in the transformation mission of the country is C. Steinweg Logistics (Pty) Ltd (C. Steinweg Logistics), a totally integrated logistics service provider with a well-established footprint of blue chip clients in the agriculture, mining and minerals, project cargo, bulk containerised commodities, raw materials, as well as the chemical and plastics industry segments throughout Sub-Saharan Africa countries.

C. Steinweg Logistics had been buying meals for their night staff every day for years.  Although a good initiative, it wasn’t however the most optimised solution – meals available were not always supportive of a healthy, balanced diet and costs would vary making it difficult to control operationally.

A better solution was born

The immediate solution would have been to outsource this requirement to an established catering company for supplying meals to the night staff.

But C. Steinweg Logistics, who is also a corporate member of the SASDC, intent on driving diversity and inclusion in their procurement and supply chains, instead saw an opportunity to empower one of their own. They had for many years, employed Mr Vincent Mathonsi as its chef for cooking meals for the executive team and for all in-house functions. 

This created an opportunity for Vincent to grow from employee to business owner by him continuing to service his original portfolio while also catering for the night staff. Whilst Vincent had the prerequisite culinary skills, he didn’t have experience in running a business.

Connections supported with upskilling make good business sense

As part of the SASDC’s service offering to Steinweg Logisitcs, a selection process to find a youth-owned, township based catering businesses was undertaken. The SASDC selected three companies to compete in a pitch process to a panel of decision makers consisting of C. Steinweg Logistics and SASDC members to be considered for the business.

The Winner is…

Shanko’s, a black-owned gourmet kitchen, run by Zamokuhle Siyabonga Ngema, in the KwaMashu township of KwaZulu Natal was selected through this process.   

By bringing the parties together, an 80/20 joint venture was established with the idea that Zamokuhle contributes his business skills and Vincent his culinary expertise to the new partnership.

Besides C. Steinweg Logistics connecting the two – the organisation also wanted to ensure the success of the partnership and sustainable business growth. As such they have been guiding and supporting the parties throughout the process in several ways:

  • Financial support: Covering certain overheads such as electricity, rent, staff salaries for a year. They even covered the cost for Zamakuhle to find a suitable container for the mobile kitchen, the equipment needed as well. This will support the business as they gear up for growth.
  • Recruitment of vendors: Steinweg enlisted the SASDC to assist with advertising for potential vendors and conducted and facilitated a series of interviews.
  • Appointment of an independent attorney: to provide assistance in getting the business license, council the two partners and draw up the shareholders’ agreement.
  • Compliance and Regulation: Then they were also supported in ensuring that compliance and certification of the business was correctly done.
  • Meeting Facilitation: to ensure the parties understood and were making decisions every step of the way and understanding their individual accountability to the business and each other.
  • Recruitment of staff: They also offered support in recruiting four new staff members.
  • Launch of the new business

The Outcome

It has been a month since the launch of Shanko’s Mobile Kitchen at C. Steinweg Logistics premises in Durban. All C. Steinweg Logistics’ employees and partners can now buy Shanko’s meals on-site at discounted rates until 7pm every night and even take-away these warm, hearty home-cooked meals.

This joint venture not only resulted in the first Shanko’s franchising opportunity for Zamokuhle, but also ownership in a new venture for Vincent and the employment of 4 new staff members.

Why is this important?

 “Transformation and inclusion in our supply chains is essential to the development, equality and job creation goals of our country. The SASDC is incredibly proud to have been part of the solution and we further commend C. Steinweg Logistics on the role they have played in creating a new opportunity and market for an emerging black business.  My hope is that more organisations in both the private and public sector are inspired by the difference “thinking-with-a-mission” makes in regard to attaining the change we so desperately need in the country. For us, we continue driving our mission to make opportunities accessible for black suppliers because #BlackSuppliersMatter,” says Gary Joseph, CEO of the SASDC.