Founder of Oco Life Annabel Davids. PHOTO: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – Having corporate giants pledge their support to include small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) in their supply chain is proof that entrepreneurs' call for business development support is being heard.

This according to award-winning Cape Town-based businesswoman, Annabel Davids, founder of Oco Life, a holistic lifestyle store that uses traditional African herbs such as Imphepho to create organic essential oils.

“Having this link between entrepreneurs and corporate SA where honest conversations were had was refreshing. Having corporate giants pledge their support to include SMMEs in their supply chain and the government equally as committed to keep those conversations alive and cut red tape for us SMMEs was music to our ears. This was not just lip service, entrepreneurs are being heard," she said.

One of the Eco Life staffers working in Lab, Photo: Supplied

Davids’ business was recently announced the overall award winner and also walked away with the best women-owned business award at Western Cape Entrepreneurship Awards which were held at the Old Mutual offices in Cape Town last week.

The Western Cape Government has said the awards seek to highlight the important role of entrepreneurs and small businesses in the economy and to inspire entrepreneurial attitudes in the province.

Davids, who runs the business, which has created 12 permanent and 14 part-time jobs for residents in Masiphumele in Cape Town, said, “enterprise supplier development (ESD) is a strategic imperative not like before where a company being compliant was enough”.

ESD is a combination of Preferential Procurement, Supplier Diversity, Supplier Development and Enterprise Development programmes to service business needs. It is part of the broad-based black economic empowerment policy to advance economic transformation in South Africa.

Imphepho - Africa’s Sacred Herb. Photo: Supplied

“Things are changing for the better,” she said. “Awards like these are important and there should be more like them to celebrate true entrepreneurship. We sometimes feel invisible. We do not have a sense of entitlement, we’re not milking the system, we are not looking for fame or fortune. We are wanting to be the change, create the employment, with an unquestionable work ethic.”

Davids added that the company was researching and developing great new products which included traditional medicine, including in the cannabis-based industry since its recent legalisation for home use.

“One in the pipeline is that as of next year, distilling Africa’s Sacred Herb Imphepho. Popularly known for its traditional uses, this beautiful African Botanical has amazing health benefits. It's an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and so much more. We want it to be another South African gem of an export, bring it to the world to create global awareness and make it as popular internationally,” she said.

African News Agency (ANA)