SA retailers say local is lekker!

SA retailers say local is lekker!
Kyle Ballard, Head of Accelerators at the EFC

2023 eThekwini Furniture Cluster Accelerator seeks homegrown talent

Are you a black-owned business that has what it takes to become the next supplier to South Africa’s leading corporates in the furniture sector? While some people might believe that success is all about luck, the eThekwini Furniture Cluster (EFC) knows it’s all about hard work and commitment to your dream, and now the Business Accelerator is your chance to prove it!

“The local furniture sector has a significant influence on employment, industrialisation and local competitive advantage. This is because it has the third largest labour force in the country and low barriers to entry,” explains Takalani Rathiyaya, Head of the Economic Development Unit at eThekwini Municipality. “Improving the capability and capacity of the industry is, therefore, a priority for economic development in South Africa,” he adds.

By connecting high-potential SMEs to big business, the EFC Business Accelerator aims to do just that. “The Accelerator offers SMEs the rare opportunity to demonstrate their potential to big customers like Homewood, Mr Price Home and @home, and ultimately can go on to become their next strategic suppliers. The way it works, is that small businesses are given an opportunity to pitch to large customers, in a Dragons’ Den format, detailing what they believe makes their business unique and competitive. The winners then have a chance to access new sales, financing, expert technical insights, and support to scale their business.”  explains Kyle Ballard, Head of Accelerators at the EFC.

Recognising that SMEs are the backbone of South Africa’s economy, big leading retailers such as Mr Price Home, Homewood and @home are committed to driving change in their supply chain. These three companies have joined forces with the EFC Business Accelerator to find future, local suppliers, particularly manufacturers and suppliers with sustainability offerings in the areas of cost-efficient packaging, raw materials, and innovative logistics solutions. As a result, they are already transforming the lives and businesses of those entrepreneurs identified as high-potential suppliers in previous years.

For example, the EFC prize-winners in the 2021 Dragons’ Den were three woman-led businesses:

  • Alifurn (Best Business Case Award)
  • MAD Design Studios (Most Promising or Innovative Business Award)
  • Woman’s Vision Primary Cooperative (High Impact Award)

Having won cash prizes of up to R15 000 each on the day, the real impact of the Accelerator went beyond this when these SMEs, including another shortlisted contender (Pine Timber Board Express), received letters of interest from the retailers which unlocked exciting commercial opportunities for each of them.

If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, get ready to demonstrate your potential! Apply to the EFC Accelerator now for the rare opportunity to pitch your business to Homewood, Mr Price Home and @home who are eager to find their future local suppliers.


Applications (now open) close: 28 February 2023

Apply here:

Download the Accelerator info pack here: