From Employee to Entrepreneur: How SGS South Africa is Supporting Enterprise Development through Baitsanape Lab Supplies (BLS)
Former SGS employee Vuyo Tlhowe is a dynamic young entrepreneur with a background in chemistry.
Having spotted an opportunity to provide high quality standards, consumables and equipment to laboratories in the greater Gauteng area of South Africa, Mr Tlhowe established Baitsanape Lab Supplies (BLS). Baitsanape is a Setswana word meaning “experts” – people with know-how in their respective fields. This new emerging scientific company is a 100% black economic empowerment (BEE) company with a shareholding of 51% by black women.
As part of its BEE supplier development program, SGS has, since 2015, promoted entrepreneurship and enterprise development in local communities and at regional, provincial and national levels, to create an enabling environment for BEE businesses to access mainstream business opportunities. While supporting BEE suppliers, we focus our developmental efforts on BEE enterprises that are deemed to be of importance to our business. These include suppliers of lab consumables, labor brokers, and providers of consulting and other services. As part of the BEE initiative, the procurement team in SGS South Africa established a commercial partnership with BLS in 2016. Supporting BLS through African Assay Laboratories Ltd, a large pan-African supplier of fluxes and consumables, the partnership allows for the transfer of skills and knowledge to support BLS’s development and growth plans, with the aim of BLS becoming a more significant player in the SGS supplier base over time.
The project has seen positive momentum with the submission of a tender to a significant player in the mining industry. Commenting on the latest development, Mr Tlhowe said, “This was a good opportunity for us to spread our wings, and we have learned where our focus should lie as we expand our revenue streams.”
SGS South Africa will continue to invest in the future of its supply chain by nurturing young entrepreneurs through its BBE program.