SMMEs around South Africa’s national parks to benefit from R10 million support programme

Two zebras embracing at Kruger National Park. A symbol of partnership between the two. Picture: Unsplash

Two zebras embracing at Kruger National Park. A symbol of partnership between the two. Picture: Unsplash

Published Jul 1, 2023


SMMEs from communities surrounding South Africa’s major national parks are set to benefit following the launch of the Sanlam SANParks SMME Support Programme.

The Sanlam Group and South African National Parks (SANParks) launched this R10 million programme to provide access to market, finance and business development support to SMMEs and create sustainable businesses by providing supply chain finance at the lowest cost possible.

According to Sanlam, the programme will offer short-term working capital through interest-free loans to SMMEs with whom SANParks can procure goods and services in and around the Kruger National Park.

Sanlam will contribute R10m in loan support as part of its pilot programme and development support will be implemented by I AM AN ENTREPRENEUR (IAAE), a leading enterprise development agency experienced in helping entrepreneurs build and grow their businesses.

The group also said the programme aims to create sustainable SMMEs with the capability to deliver goods and services to SANParks, thereby preserving and potentially contributing to job creation in and around Kruger National Park.

Karl Socikwa, Group Executive: Market Development & Sustainability at Sanlam, said the group is deeply committed to driving the development and growth of the South African economy and sustainable growth on the African continent.

“Our purpose is to empower generations of Africans to be financially confident, secure, and prosperous. Our impact journey is not a new one – we’ve been committed to investing in communities and the environment for more than 100 years.

“Our parks are a pivotal part of our nation, and we need to treasure them – and the universe of people responsible for their maintenance and upkeep,” said Socikwa.

He added that they know many of these SMMEs have been severely impacted by the pandemic and the group is delighted to partner with SANParks to offer vital financial and business development support to help these businesses thrive.

For SANParks, the programme forms part of a broader strategy to uplift SMMEs in the communities surrounding its parks. The organisation aims to secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

The CEO of SANParks, Hapiloe Sello, expressed her appreciation to Sanlam for the business development support initiatives.

She said their incubation programme has yielded a group of young, determined entrepreneurs who have shown eagerness to transact with the park and to promote rural economic development.

“As an organisation, we buy services and goods and have always been ready to transact with our neighbouring communities. We are excited that the Board has endorsed this proposal and look forward to witnessing the empowerment of our rural communities,” said Sello.

SMMEs that are contracted to SANParks and are interested in accessing the programme should liaise directly with the SANParks Supply Chain Management unit at the Kruger National Park.

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