Accelerate your small chemicals business to success

The Durban Chemicals Cluster (DCC) Accelerator is officially open for applications. This outstanding initiative is now in its fifth year and continues to effectively drive localisation and enable transformation with black industrialists, thanks to eThekwini Municipality and big business (FFS, H&R, NCS Resins, Sherwin-Williams and SAPREF) who support the programme. “The aim of the Accelerator is to identify high potential, black-owned, local businesses within the chemicals sector and bring them alongside large-scale firms who are potential customers,” explains Meghan King from the Durban Chemicals Cluster. “It’s a process with a mutually beneficial goal in mind; the small, black industrialists realise their full potential and the large customers achieve strategic sourcing commitments by improving supplier capacity, capability, compliance, and competitiveness.”

According to King, the Business Accelerator has seen remarkable success over the last five years. “55 new commercial partnerships with emerging entrepreneurs have been established and over R61m in new commercial opportunities have been unlocked. This is in addition to the 870 new jobs that have been created.”

Applying small businesses are screened for suitability and to get through this they need to be South African, 51% or more black-owned, have an annual turnover of less than R170 million, are registered with CIPC, are tax compliant, been in operation for at least a year and able to offer products or services into the chemicals industry. Qualifying candidates are then invited to a workshop where mentors and specialists help the candidates refine their business pitches that are then presented to large customers in a ‘Dragons’ Den’ setting.

“This is a really exciting part of the process!”, explains King. “The small business owners present their potential to prospective clients from the chemicals sector – leading firms like FFS, H&R, NCS Resins, Sherwin-Williams and SAPREF. The ‘Dragons’ ask questions and then decide who the top winners are – but it doesn’t end there. The top pitches stand a chance of winning cash prizes on the day and all small businesses whom the Dragons see as having potential will be taken on a business mentorship programme facilitated by the DCC wherein they develop a business case. The goal of this process is to get the small businesses to a point where the large companies are comfortable to unlock a commercial commitment, become customers, and support the SMEs in meeting the requirements of sustained supply.”

Last year, Brian Hlophe from Silokotho Trading Primary Cooperative walked away with a top prize and promising prospects with more than one large customer. He said, “I am so glad that I decided to enter the DCC Accelerator. The business case development phase with our mentor was eye-opening because we identified opportunities to expand our products and develop new outlets and I know that we wouldn’t be where we are now, if we hadn’t been exposed to this.”

“There are so many small-scale entrepreneurs out there, bursting with potential and enthusiasm. We are proud of being able to fund the DCC Accelerator and thereby support these promising black industrialists by connecting them with the big businesses in order to become successful and create jobs,” explains Ravesha Govender, Programme Manager: Economic Development Unit at eThekwini Municipality.

“It’s a massive privilege to facilitate the process of not only unlocking market access for developing SMEs, but also serving big business by helping them deliver on transformation goals through high potential suppliers,” King concludes.

If your business meets the Accelerator requirements and is ready to take it to the next level, apply before 30 September 2022 through this portal:

From left to right: Shoba Chetty (SAPREF), Ravesha Govender (eThekwini Municipality) and Mpume Mbambo (SAPREF).

2021 DCC Business Accelerator Programme