Unilever’ Emerge Supplier Acceleration programme to partner with more suppliers and minority-owned businesses

Unilever has launched Emerge Supplier Acceleration Programme aimed at integrating more diverse suppliers and minority-owned businesses in it’s supply chain. The platform is a gateway for people to grow their own business and make a wider economic contribution. The Emerge Acceleration Programme will provide access to business skills development, capacity building and funding to boost SMEs sector participation in the economy.

The Programme is a strategic partnership between Unilever and the SME Support Centre. Unilever plans to inject close to Kshs 200 million annually as part of its drive to foster an all-inclusive business environment particularly for businesses owned by women, persons with disabilities and small businesses aiming at making them competitive and market-ready. In addition the business is on course to meet its Kshs 0.5 billion spend target set aside for under-represented businesses, majority of which are SMEs.

(TOP: Luck Ochieng, the Unilever Kenya MD and Linda Onyango, SME Support Centre CEO officially launch the Emerge Supplier Acceleration Program at the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi).

“We know socio-cultural, systemic, or economic barriers too often prevent people from realizing economic empowerment. Barriers such as gender or prejudice, gender inequity, lack of access to training and skills, and financial exclusion hamper entrepreneurship and business growth. We want to actively make our supply chain more diverse by reaching out to people and groups that are usually under-represented. At the same time, we are unlocking innovation, agility, and opportunity – within our suppliers’ businesses, and in ours.” says, Luck Ochieng, the MD, Unilever Kenya.

Under this partnership, the SME Support Centre will offer acceleration programme that will include technical support around strategy, operations, production capabilities and quality assurance as well as providing linkages to various financial service providers. This will enable small businesses to supply products and services, not only to Unilever but also other similar manufacturing multi-nationals to widen their customer bases and increase their revenue streams.

“We are deeply passionate about developing businesses, and we recognize the need for being proactive in ensuring present and future success. Through the Emerge Supplier Acceleration Programme, we are committed to help businesses build long-term competitiveness and contribute to overall GDP,” said SME Support Centre CEO Linda Onyango.

The collaboration aims at leveraging respective strengths and expertise from both partners to deliver relevant insights through trainings on entrepreneurship, financial literacy, e-commerce, business mentorship and coaching.

The initiative will ensure that Unilever works with more diverse suppliers rather than increasing the number of our suppliers.

“Diverse supply chains are critical to the country’s economic vitality, and we firmly believe that supporting entrepreneurship through small businesses will make them market-ready to expand their business opportunities and growth,” adds Ochieng.

Established over 100 years ago, Unilever is one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies. It is known for its great brands and the belief that doing business the right way drives superior performance. It has 148,000 employees across the world and over 400 brand names in over 190 countries. It is a global company with a global purpose. Its vision is to make sustainable living commonplace.

SME Support Centre (SSC) is an aggregator of SMEs in Africa on one hand and a provider of business and investment advisory services to the aggregated SMEs on the other hand. The focus of SSC is to ensure the growth and scale of SMEs in Africa by providing the necessary business advisory and mobilizing the investment capital required to support the growth of these companies.

SSC aims to build long term partnerships with various players in the African ecosystem which includes financial institutions, governments, and other like-minded private sector players. SMEs can access the services provided by the SSC after registration.


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