Exxaro and the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) Entrepreneurship Development Academy (EDA) are proud to announce the first graduation ceremony for the Contractor Development Programme cohorts, which occurred on 12 April 2022.
In November 2020, Exxaro, one of South Africa's largest black-empowered, diversified mining and renewable energy solutions companies, launched the Contractor Development Programme in partnership with the GIBS EDA, which was launched in 2012. The academy’s goal is to build an entrepreneurial spirit amidst a culture of innovation and social change. The EDA partners with institutions and organisations to develop entrepreneurs who go on to increase revenue and job creation within their respective industries.
The programme aims to promote and support the advancement and empowerment of local Exxaro suppliers by providing business education and mentorship. Seventeen companies graduated from the programme.
The success of this programme couldn’t have come at a better time. With the backdrop of the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africans were faced with mass retrenchments, business closures and staggering financial losses. South Africa's unemployment rate climbed to 35.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021, up from 34.9% in the previous period.
It is significant in that it marks a key milestone in several areas; firstly in the lives of several small enterprises whose owners were graduating, secondly the relationship between Exxaro and GIBS, for the drive towards creating growing and sustainable enterprises in our country. Small enterprises remain the backbone of this country. This was affirmed by our President in the 2022 State of the Nation address when he posited that businesses, both big and small, are job creators.
“Entrepreneurship, amongst others, is about resilience and staying the course. The participants have demonstrated this by staying on this programme until the end while ensuring that their businesses continue to operate. It is notable to see that all your businesses are still in operation, in an environment where business mortality remains unacceptably high,” said Mzila Mthenjane, Executive Head for Stakeholder Affairs at Exxaro.
The programme provided a unique intervention that combined selected accredited unit standards with customised mining and Exxaro-specific content to maximise impact and relevance for participants. As a result of this strategic mentorship and empowerment programme, participants from 30 companies graduated with invaluable skills.
Miranda Hosking, Managing Executive of Social Education at GIBS added, “Working with Exxaro to develop this programme and then implementing it to optimise supplier relationships is hopefully just the beginning of many success stories for our graduates. We’re excited to see these local businesses flourish, create jobs and grow the economy”.