Woolworths’ confidence in black-owned entrepreneurs paying off



Woolworths is bucking the trend of institutions that regard sponsoring previously disadvantaged entrepreneurs as ‘high risk’, Transform SA Online is informed.

The company’s Head of Transformation, Zinzi Mgolodela says that the upmarket retailer’s start-up funding model is enjoying great success.

Quite unusual in an economy in which lenders are struggling to cope with the high rate of defaults, Mgolodela says that ninety eight percent of the black-owned small to medium enterprises, financed by Woolworths, repay their soft loans on schedule.

As part of the retailer’s enterprise development programme, designed to support emerging black-owned businesses, up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the scheme have earned R770m in business from Woolworths, in just three years.

Mgolodela says Woolworths values enterprise development.

“It has always been our preference to identify promising entrepreneurs, partner and grow them for the long-term.

“Over the years, we have learnt that you can’t just fund black start-ups and small businesses and walk away. We’ve learnt that they need a suite of tools to succeed, including a range of financial interventions, for example, shorter payment terms, to help them with much needed cash flow, guaranteed business, mentorship and targeted up-skilling.”

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