SAB and AB INBEV support local retailer business growth

More than 500 liquor retailers, some struggling business owners, based in South Africa, Tanzania and Ghana, have completed an intensive AB InBev Retailer Development Programme (RDP) aimed at improving the chances of their business experiencing financial success in the mid-to long-term.


In South Africa, 155 liquor retailers based in Gauteng’s Thembisa, Sebokeng and Mamelodi completed the business skills training programme and graduated today, along with 200 retailers from Tanzania and 200 in Ghana.

‘In South Africa small business failure rate is almost 80 per cent due to a range of issues including the lack of support and resources they have available to them in managing and growing their business,’ says David Hauxwell, SAB VP Procurement and Sustainability.

‘It’s important that we take a holistic approach to improving lives through business by creating new entrepreneurs and empowering existing business owners so that they operate sustainable entities able to create jobs within local communities and sufficiently provide for the retailer and their families.’

The RDP training involves a combination of facilitator classroom sessions, in-store coaching and visits to the retailer’s business premises, as a comprehensive approach to developing retailer business and entrepreneurial capability.

In addition, the RDP is a high impact approach to engaging liquor traders on the effects and harm caused by the misuse of alcohol in local communities and highlights the importance of trading responsibly to maintain their licence to trade.

‘The extensive network of retailers with whom AB InBev works across our markets occupy the perfect position within society to be leading role models in the drive to reduce the harm caused by the misuse of alcohol and to encourage more responsible alcohol consumption habits amongst community members,’ says Hauxwell.

SAB undertook an intensive deep-dive research amongst retailers in South Africa, Ghana and Tanzania, to understand their needs as business owners and to identify the gaps and opportunities. The RDP training was then tailored according to this.

The content of the RDP training includes:

  • determining whether the business is making or losing money;
  • financial management, including separating business and personal finances;
  • adequate stock and record-keeping; managing cash for working capital;
  • identifying and evaluating investment opportunities;
  • identifying and selecting funding sources;
  • marketing;
  • customer service; and
  • making the best use of available space

An intensive selection process to participate in the RDP identifies those retailers with an ‘entrepreneurial mind-set’ and who are growth-driven. Participating retailers are based in locations where training opportunities are scarce.

The knowledge and skills obtained from RDP is shared by the participating retailers with their employees and family members involved in the business, ensuring that learnings have a multiple effect within communities and that the successes yielded are increased and sustainable.

AB InBev intends rolling the RDP out to additional retailers across South Africa, Tanzania and Ghana in 2019, and across other key AB InBev African markets.

A monitoring and evaluation process of each retailer’s business performance over the next 12 months will determine the real impact the RDP had.

Based on similar programmes run by AB InBev across the world, in particular Latin America, results indicate that retailers report increased sales and profits as a result of implementing the RDP-type learnings within their businesses.

‘We will continue walking the journey with our retailer’s post-RDP, complimenting the training they have received to ensure that they are well-equipped to build businesses that grow over time,’ says Hauxwell.