Enterprise & Supplier Development in SA

SMMEs are positioned to provide job opportunities and to contribute significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. They have also been identified as the key to job creation and globally known to be the mechanism to generate new jobs in society.  With that said, ESD plays an integral role in the South African economy. The purpose of ESD is for big corporates to support SMMEs in promoting economic transformation (participation of black-owned entities in the economy), creating competitive markets (ensuring compliance, technical competence, and commercial competence), job creation and creating sustainable communities. ’.

We briefly chatted to our new Head of ESD, Keitumetse Lekaba, about her new role at I AM AN ENTREPRENEUR. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Keitumetse Lekaba, born and bred in Dobsonville, Soweto. I have extensive training and experience in Finance, Accounting, Auditing, Tax, SMME Development and Business Coaching, ESD strategy and BBBEE Advisory. SMME Development and implementing ESD strategies that achieve and drive measurable impact is my passion. 

What is ESD? 

ESD stands for Enterprise and Supplier Development. It is part of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) policy to advance economic transformation in South Africa. ESD programmes come in various forms; including grants, development loans, back-office support, management support, training and advisory, and preferential procurement to encourage diversity in the use of suppliers in the value chain of a particular business. 

What are your thoughts on ESD in South Africa? 

Corporate South Africa, together with institutions such as I AM AN ENTREPRENEUR, have a responsibility to ensure that ESD programmes are not only impactful, but that they are also implemented fairly to the benefit of SMMEs and their communities. 

ESD programmes must go beyond compliance, with SMME sustainability at the forefront. I like this specific definition of Sustainability – “the ability to exist constantly”. In the SMME world, existing constantly involves compliance, competence, access to markets and cash flow management to name a few. 

I also believe that it is the responsibility of SMMEs to rigorously join/seek programmes to support their business needs in assisting them in their growth and sustainability journey. 

How do you feel about your new role?

I AM AN ENTREPRENEUR is a leading institution that truly up-skills entrepreneurs. The ESD programmes developed and implemented by the team thus far are credible, sustainable, measurable and most importantly, impactful programmes. Joining the team as the Head of Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) has been a step in the right direction as I continue to meaningfully contribute in the SMME development space. I am definitely looking forward to the journey ahead, our engagements with entrepreneurs and building and implementing impactful programmes for SMMEs across the country. 

Thank you and welcome to the team! 


Keitumetse will be sharing many more insights and opportunities in the ESD space. If you have any ESD related questions you’d like her to answer, please send them to: [email protected] 


Here’s to an impactful year!