As the largest South African real estate investment trust, Growthpoint Properties, with its portfolio of more than 500 properties in South Africa and Australia (including the V&A Waterfront), firmly believes that being a responsible global citizen is intrinsically linked to its long-term sustainability.
“We promote skills development and empowerment among people, and the projects we engage in empower entrepreneurial development, education, construction or financing of bricks-and-mortar projects within the property sector,” says Shawn Theunissen, head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Growthpoint and head of Property Point. “We believe these to be at the backbone of South Africa’s sustainable development. It is important to us that such projects demonstrate a measureable and positive impact on society.”
Growthpoint identified a need for a programme that focuses not just on the skills development of small businesses but also on the creation of supply chain opportunities for small businesses to create real sustainability for them, and in 2008 it launched Property Point, an enterprise development initiative. Property Point gives black-owned small businesses operating in the property sector a foothold in a highly competitive marketplace. Entrepreneurs are provided with support during a two-year incubation period, during which time they can develop into fully sustainable businesses.
“There is a need for quality information and industry mentorship for entrepreneurs which ensures the longevity of businesses and the Property Point programme is aimed at addressing this need through holistic interventions based on the specific needs of the individual business,” says Theunissen. “The development of future and current suppliers for Growthpoint not only creates social impact but is also a supply chain value-add.”
Growthpoint is involved with Property Point on multiple levels. It provides and allocates funding based on monitored impact. Growthpoint’s procurement team is one of Property Point’s main stakeholders in terms of integrating suppliers into the supply chain, and the procurement team is actively involved in Property Point’s selection process through interviewing candidates and assessing their level of commitment to the programme.
Once the SMMEs are selected, Property Point introduces the procurement team and their processes to the new intake. Throughout the incubation period, the procurement team and facilities management team include Property Point businesses in Request For Proposals on a small scale and gradually build these up as the business increases in capacity. Various experts within Growthpoint also act as mentors and subject matter experts for the businesses. “Our incubation programme selects small businesses with growth potential, and then cultivates this growth sustainably,” says Theunissen.
“Our strategy focuses on minimising the risk profile, increasing the business’s reputation and credibility, and creating effective relationships for the businesses. We do this by empowering both the entrepreneur and their business with skills training, mentorship, coaching, improving their bankability and integrating them into supply chain opportunities. We also host monthly information sessions, known as ‘To The Point’ where we host industry experts to share insights on best practice in all areas of their businesses.”
To date, the programme has been instrumental in creating 981 jobs and unlocking procurement opportunities to the value of R248.6-million (figures as at end May 2015).
After being let down repeatedly by a contractor who was building their home, Puleng and Greg Tubane decided to take control of finishing the building of their home. This process — and especially its success — inspired them to start their own construction company, NRP Properties & Contractors in 2007. With mentorship from Property Point, the couple has increased the company’s staff complement from 19 to 25, and its turnover from R331 000 in 2012 to more than R6-million in 2015.