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How can big business support smaller business?

Anglo American is one of the world’s major global and diversified mining companies headquartered in the UK. We mine copper, nickel, iron ore, diamonds (through De Beers), coal and platinum (world’s largest producer). Most of our mines are in developing countries, particularly in Southern Africa and Latin America. We are committed to delivering good development as well as good results for our business.

Entrepreneurs are more than business people looking to make a profit, they are often driven by a desire for social progress, to create jobs or innovate within their communities.

In our experience, entrepreneurs are more than business people looking to make a profit, they are often driven by a desire for social progress, to create jobs or innovate within their communities. At Anglo American we believe that enterprise development is one of the most effective ways of delivering sustainable, broad-based economic growth in local economies that supports people to help themselves.

Through our Enterprise Development schemes Anglo American supports local small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), both those involved in mining and those not. We help them to access markets and funding, and help them to implement. At the heart of Anglo American’s approach to enterprise development is ‘empowerment’ – driven by the desire to play to the strengths of host communities.

Governments have delivered SME development programmes for many years, with mixed success. As a business, we have the advantage of a large number of suppliers so we can design development programmes for our supplier that are more effective and to help SMEs to understand how to compete. In South Africa, for example, the survival rate of SMEs is one of the lowest in the world, but the businesses we have supported have surpassed the EU’s five-year survival rate of 55%.

Anglo American began its Enterprise Development programme in South Africa in 1989 working with its supply chain through Zimele, the Zulu term for ‘standing on one’s own two feet’. We then expanded in Chile with Emerge, supporting SMEs who aren’t our suppliers but more importantly, focussing on mentoring and business advice.

Since 2008 Anglo American has supported 96,873 jobs, distributed more than $100 million in funding and supported 58,257 SMEs. Most recently, we began schemes in Botswana and Brazil in 2013 and in Peru in 2014 through which we aim to support over 10,000 jobs by the end of 2016.


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Our approach to Enterprise Development has developed through partnerships, with each partner chosen to bring a different set of skills and experience that drives greater efficiency in implementation and outcomes.

Our partnerships include: NGOs such as TechnoServe in Chile and Brazil; partnerships with the Government, including the Sebenza and Godisa funds in South Africa; and commercial agreement with for example banks and financial institutions.

Take a look at our video to see how our approach supports local people.

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  1. Boniface TKoffa -

    Sometime ago, I kindly requested for financial assistance from any
    investor / donor in order for me to operate on a field that produces
    mostly god-color diamonds. But, I have just started on a small scale
    by being permitted to dig gravel from some else’s field. Even though,
    gold-color diamond, are all over the region, we are largely relying on
    trial and error in locating deposits. So my humble request is
    financial assistance to cover firstly (1) The sending to me a mining
    specialist (geologist) to prospect and discover these diamond deposits
    and later (2) the purchasing of the fields and the extraction work

  2. Boniface TKoffa -

    A place is available that produces gold-color diamonds. I have the expertise and the experienced workers. But I need financial support to operate this place.