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Mondelez International Forging a Path to Transformation

As part of its continued efforts to champion diversity, inclusiveness and economic empowerment, Mondelēz International (Mondelēz) is spearheading numerous impactful initiatives aimed at upskilling its employees, entrepreneurs as well as members of communities in which it operates.

Through its Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) programme, Mondelēz has recently taken up the challenge to empower Black-owned small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) through skills development and preferential procurement.

“For a period ranging from 2019 until recently, our ESD programme supported a number of businesses in the Sales, Marketing, Catering and Transport industries – with some of the businesses that participated in the programme subsequently becoming our suppliers,” says Mondelēz South and Central East Africa People Lead Nthabiseng Masike.

App developer, Brian Makwaiba is one of the entrepreneurs who benefitted from the programme, which entailed providing mentorship, business and financial management support as well as sales training and business development grants. For entrepreneurs, the support given by Mondelēz helped to keep their businesses afloat through the challenges brought on by Covid-19 and the lockdown.

Through his Vuleka App, Makwaiba helps spaza shop owners purchase goods as a collective from manufacturers – enabling and creating a platform for them to negotiate discounts directly with these various manufacturers.

“Our app was initially introduced in 2017, but it is our partnership with Mondelēz that has seen it scale up, in fact, the use of the app significantly increased during the pandemic – with more than 6 000 spaza shop owners signing up to check specials and shop through the catalogue. Our monthly orders nearly doubled during the pandemic, rising from about 200 000 to well over 300 000,” says Makwaiba.

“We believe in the abundant potential of South Africa’s entrepreneurs especially as small businesses are fast becoming the backbone of our local economy. We also believe that Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, when executed with integrity, can create a positive impact and unlock a brighter future for many South Africans, Masike says.

Commenting on measures being taken to upskill its own employees, Masike says people are the company’s most valuable assets and the company has committed to creating an environment for courageous leaders to grow and flourish. To this end, Mondelēz has increased the number of Black Executive Managers from just over 20 percent in 2019 to over 40 percent in 2020, the number of Black Senior Managers has also increased from just over 20 percent in 2019 to over 50 percent in 2020 while Black Female Senior Managers increased from over 20 percent in 2019 to over 30 percent in 2020.

“We have made significant inroads in terms of appointing and promoting our Black employees to Executive and Senior management positions in just over a year and we will continue to strive to make sure that we offer an environment that enables everyone to grow and thrive.”

Through its skills development interventions, Mondelēz has implemented technical training for its team based at its Gqeberha plant. In addition, all its employees have access to the company’s world class courses through Mondelēz International University. Thus far, the skills development initiative has benefited more than 100 employees and unemployed youths.

This Mondelēz does through various educational initiatives undertaken in collaboration with its skills development partners such as, WITS Business School, VW Academy, Bruniquel & Associates and Mike Murphy Engineering just to mention a few.

Making a positive impact through socio-economic development

In addition to ESD and skills development initiatives, the company also continues to make a positive impact in communities in which it operates. Through the Health in Action Programme, Mondelēz works with disadvantaged schools to combat obesity, malnutrition and other lifestyle illnesses through school gardens, aquaponics farming, nutrition education and healthy lifestyle training for students, teachers, and community members. Unemployed and not in education youth are recruited in targeted communities and trained to serve as school-based Break Time Buddies. In addition, a select group of community members receive Agri-entrepreneurship training and support for job creation and income generation.

“It goes without saying that a great need exists for all of us – Government, the private sector and social partners to collaborate at all levels in the interest of advancing the economic transformation agenda and ensuring that all South Africans are given an opportunity to participate, meaningfully, in the economy,” Masike concludes.

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