Coca-Cola Commits to Supporting Township SMMEs in South Africa

Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) is driving economic inclusion by supporting township-owned SMMEs.

According to the quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) Q2 2023, 32.6% of unemployed people in South Africa, this figure has dropped by 0.3% since the first quarter, representing a significant decrease.

Developing the informal economy plays a critical role in creating job opportunities and boosting economic activity in our country. South Africa’s townships are well-known for their entrepreneurial spirit despite the many hurdles township entrepreneurs face.

Business Development Initiatives

Through the Bizniz in a Box (BiB) Programme, CCBSA, and DESTEA we recently supported 27 entrepreneurs from Intabazwe township in Harrismith with business equipment, infrastructure improvements, and training.

The business owners that the company has chosen to support, will also receive business development support to ensure that their businesses grow and are sustainable.

The Department of Economic Development has also committed R405,000 to support the 27 candidates with R15,000 each to help them buy stock for their businesses.

The Free State MEC of Economic Development, Thabo Meeko was also in attendance. In his keynote address, he made a commitment to providing ongoing support to help develop Small businesses in the township saying, “The support we are providing here today is only one of several initiatives to help township-owned SMMEs develop and thrive and there are yet many more to come.”

On behalf of the department, he acknowledged that townships remain spatially disconnected and alienated from mainstream economic activity and that programs like the one Coca-cola initiated and their own are aimed at aggressively bridging the existing spatial gap and are work in progress to reintegrate people in this economic sector.”

The Bizniz in a Box (BiB) program is part of CCBSA’s economic inclusion program to empower small, micro, and medium enterprises (SMMEs) – especially women and youth in our host communities.

As such CCBSA in partnership with DESTEA has identified 50 Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMME) in the Free State and through the BiB programme provided infrastructure support such as a container, mobile kitchen, and renovations.

Some businesses were provided support with equipment that will help them take their businesses to the next level. To date, 62 SMMEs have been supported through BiB and 560 businesses have been provided training.

The severity of poverty and unemployment in the province required extensive policy creation to aggressively address the surroundings and circumstances in which township businesses operate.

The Department is working with the Free State Parliament to adopt the Housing Consumer Protection Bill that will serve as a means to address the plight of the people of the Free State on illicit goods sold within townships.

The Bill will do away with oscillates which create market uncertainty and lead to the abuse of opportunities.

In a joint partnership between Coca-Cola South Africa and the Department of Economic Development, the company and state, are committed to creating an enabling platform for local enterprises to grow and develop.