JOHANNESBURG – B-BBEE practitioner Mpopi Khupe believes that she was driven into entrepreneurship to find creative solutions to empowerment challenges.
The executive director of Zevoli Consulting says she founded the enterprise and supplier development (ESD) advisory and programme management firm with Hepsy Mkhungo in 2014 precisely to address the implementation of the new rules.
Today, Zevoli provides strategy development, review and re-alignment services aimed at
designing and implementing ESD programmes that support the achievement of overall business objective.
“We exist to unlock shared value and powered by our purpose, we are growth catalysts,” says Khupe, who holds a BCom from the former University of Port Elizabeth now known as Nelson Mandela University.
She says the firm is creating unexpected opportunities for meaningful connections between small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and corporates to unlock tangible commercial growth and success.
Khupe was part of the core team that produced the initial version of the formulation of the Codes of Good Practice on B-BBEE (Codes).
She was also part of the team that assisted the Department of Trade and Industry with the recent review of the B-BBEE Act and the review and update of the Codes.
“Part of what drove me to become an entrepreneur is because I firmly believed it would allow me to be more creative in finding solutions to the B-BBEE implementation challenges that I had come to understand,” she says.
Zevoli blue chip clients include Coca Cola Beverages Africa, Sasol, Procter & Gamble, Acsa, Unilever, Sappi and Monsanto, among others.
Khupe says the a lot of corporates were grappling with understanding and effectively implementing the codes in a way that gives them a competitive advantage.
“I felt it was the perfect time for me to lend my skills set to more than one corporate and the only way to do so was to start my own business.”
Khupe says she ventured into entrepreneurship after eight years in the corporate world.
She says this was because the birth of her son changed the lens through which she viewed herself, the world and her priorities and aspirations shifted fundamentally.
“I resigned and started MTS (which focused exclusively on B-BBEE advisory services), both because I wanted to be a more present mom and because it became clear to me that I no longer fit the corporate mould.”
As the market’s understanding of the codes became richer, enterprise development stood out as the scorecard through which the most innovative successes through the stimulation of entrepreneurship could be achieved.
This led to the birth of Zevoli Consulting.
Khupe says there is great potential to unlock tangible shared value in South Africa and the broader region when working with clients who have defined local, regional and global sustainability objectives and aspirations to
have a presence and relevance across the identified geographies.
“We have been given the platform to be disruptors in how brand loyalty and brand consumption are defined, measured and how the definition of success is determined,” she says.
“In certain markets the magic lies in creating brand ambassadors and entrepreneurs that will not only speak well of your brand, but also consume your products and services.”
The businesswoman says for the company strategy to succeed firms must master their
programme development and implementation art on familiar territory and customise it for other markets.
But she stresses that this would be done without deviating from the client’s core objectives. Khupe says corporates tend to grapple with identifying clear strategies of how to compete against brands in unknown territories such as peri-urban, rural and township-based communities, where there is less brand recognition and loyalty, and fierce competition. “This is the environment in which we thrive,” she says.