As an organization, we have committed significant resources to help bridge the gap between education and finding gainful work. While our work in this regard remains incredibly important, the reality is that many Africans – especially our youth – will need to create their own opportunities.

A key way we are responding to this challenge is through our support of entrepreneurship and small business – a true example of Shared Value. Although small businesses are a key customer base for our organization, they are also a critical driver of employment creation.

However, many small businesses face a variety of challenges including: access to business development skills to improve the effectiveness and productivity of their enterprises; access to markets and knowledge of networks to leverage exiting opportunities and access to appropriate development finance, products and services.

Our enterprise development programmes focus on stimulating economic growth by providing emerging  Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with access to finance, products/services, and business opportunities. Therefore enabling their growth and development by providing entrepreneurs with training, business development support, and access to markets.

Our key Initiatives include:

  • Business Development Support (BDS)

    We provide aspirant entrepreneurs and small business owners with business development services to start and grow their businesses. This work is often delivered through partnerships, for example, the development of digital BDS tools such as the Awethu Virtual Incubator App with the Awethu Project. We also focus on key segments and sectors for the bank, for example working with organizations such as TechnoServe to provide training and acceleration to emerging farmers in support of our agricultural team. We also support FinTech innovation and collaboration through RISE.

  • Corporate value chain lending to emerging SMEs

    We provide  SMEs within corporate and government value chains with access to innovative cash flow based finance to address the challenges that many small businesses have in being unable to access funding due to lack of collateral or balance sheet.

  • Preferential procurement and supplier development with qualifying SMEs

    As an organisation, we spend a significant amount of money procuring goods and services annually. Our inclusive procurement practices and supply chain development programmes provide entrepreneurs with access to business opportunities with Absa, addressing challenges such as being unable to access markets. In addition, other initiatives include the support of SCNet Procurement Portal ( which provides an online platform that connects Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises to corporate and government buyers helping them identify markets and find business opportunities.

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