The Free State’s 2nd annual Smart Procurement World Conference and Enterprise & Supplier Development (ESD) Expo is set to help boost the local economy through the support of local small business.

The Host partner for the event is the Free State Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) and will be held at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein from 24 to 26 February 2020. The platform will bring together the region’s public and private sector procurement and supply chain community as well as local businesses.

One of the key themes of the event is to facilitate linkage between small business and buyers from the region, as well as nationally.

In preparation for the event, exhibiting SMME businesses are set to attend a series of training bootcamps which will enable them to be supplier ready for public and private sector supply chain requirements.

The event proceedings kick off on 24 February with a series of procurement and supply chain specific workshops. These interactive and technical sessions enhance the ability of procurement professionals to plan and engage in more constructive conversations that can shape and develop their professional careers. The conference will also address public and private sector collaboration and opportunities for boosting small business development across the region.

Qualifying small businesses will attend a series of training and networking activities on the 25th February – culminating in the ESD Expo open day on the 26th of February where over 100 businesses will be showcasing their solutions.

“We have developed a formula that clearly works. The pre-training as well as the conference and ESD expo, which is made up of the exhibition, Knowledge Hubs and Supplier MatchUp sessions will assist in equipping small businesses in the Free State,” says Debbie Tagg, COO of Smart Procurement (the organisers of the event).

“I have worked closely with Smart Procurement World in the Free State. I have seen the value of the programme for entrepreneurs, because it does not help if we have entrepreneurs who are trained, people are trading but do not have access to market or partners to sell to. So, Smart Procurement World is the perfect solution to take entrepreneurs to the next level. I am looking forward to the event, where we can get more people into the system, seeing more people get procured, more corporates can help with their supplier development programme, more entrepreneurs will grow their businesses and that is exactly how we will end poverty, bring equality and grow the economy. So, I am all for Smart Procurement. It is a great programme and product.” say Dr Thabo Pitsie, Business Development and Management of the University of the Free State.

The conference subject matter is industry-relevant and includes keynote addresses, case studies and a panel discussion. The first day of the event concludes with the official opening of the ESD Expo and a networking cocktail function where pre-registered conference delegates and exhibitors will have an opportunity to interact in an informal setting.

“The co-located ESD Expo is a particularly strategic platform for the 100-local black-owned SMMEs to showcase their offerings to the delegates, who represent the cream of the crop in procurement and supply chain liaison. This Expo supports enterprise and supplier development through the matching of trained and vetted small businesses to buyers from government and large corporate. The Enterprise & Supplier Development Expo helps to develop sustainable, efficient and profitable enterprises that are able to grow the economy,” says Tagg.

For more information on the upcoming series of Smart Procurement World events for 2020, please visit the website at: www.smartprocurementworld.com