Pick n Pay has launched a new mentorship mobile phone app which will connect its small suppliers with experts across its business

In a statement on Thursday, the retailer said that the new initiative seeks to empower entrepreneurs with easy access to the mentorship and business development support they need to grow their business.

Advice on offer will range from procurement, merchandising, compliance, supply chain, financial management, to marketing and human resources.

To launch the mentorship app, Pick n Pay hosted a ‘speed dating’ event in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Suppliers from its Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) programme were invited to meet over 150 of the mentors in a speed dating setting and had five minutes to learn what value they could add to their business.

This was followed by an opportunity to further engage with the potential mentors they identified.

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Head of Pick n Pay Enterprise & Supplier Development, Mishinga Seyuba Kombo said that, while entrepreneurs are passionate people with a very clear vision of what they want to achieve, many do not have, or have access to, the expertise they need to grow their business.

“Small businesses seldom have finance, operations or HR directors. As they grow, this is the kind of expertise they need to ensure that they are successful and sustainable. So through the app, at no cost to them, we offer our small suppliers access to a network of Pick n Pay mentors who can offer guidance, their expertise, experience and knowledge of real life challenges and how to solve them.”

Seyuba Kombo explained that the app will formalise the mentorship that has been happening informally at Pick n Pay for a few years now.

“Many experts in our business have been helping us empower small suppliers to get them ready to list their products or services with us and other retailers,” she said.

She gave the example of how the head of Pick n Pay’s butchery worked closely with pig farmer, Anna Phosa, to help grow her business from supplying three pigs a week to over 300.

“I call them strategic partners”

Ntombi Nonxuba from Rise Uniform, a clothing manufacturing company that supplies uniforms to Pick n Pay stores nationwide, said that Pick n Pay’s head of finance helped put her vision and plan into numbers.

“I call them my strategic partners because they are really interested in my business. When I started my business, I didn’t know anything about cash flow, projections or plans. I just knew I wanted to make uniforms. Since 2014, my mentor has guided and directed me every step of the way, but she did it with me, never for me. And this is the best way to learn, otherwise I’d still be hanging onto her back today,” said Nonxuba.

“The app means that more entrepreneurs will now have easy access to the mentorship they need most in their business. Through the app, our small suppliers can search for the expertise they require and request a meeting with a click of a button,” Seyuba Kombo said.

The PnP Mentorship app launched internally in November and so far more than 150 Pick n Pay staff members have been verified on the app. Small suppliers need to be part of the PnP Enterprise and Supplier Development programme to have access to the app.

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Author: ANA Newswire