The focus of PSAs work with small business has typically involved a lead firm and small businesses (SMEs) who are providing services to the lead firm.


A supplier development approach of this nature which results in some form of accreditation has a number of advantages:

  • SMEs have a vested, material interested in the outcome

  • The lead firm can be quite clear about its requirements

  • The program can be very granular and specific to each party’s needs.


It is not however always possible to work with SMEs in a supplier development context and PSA has also worked in sector specific programs e.g. Clothing, Textile, Construction, Tourism where SMEs have a common interest in the sector in which they compete and potentially in the clients which they service.

PSAs work in this area will typically focus on the following role players:

  • Lead firm/sector development practitioners

  • Lead firm procurement personnel

  • SME owners

  • SME administrators


PSA typically undertakes programs which involve between 6 -12 SMEs at a time and these can be spread over a number of Provinces.

Each program lasts for around 12 – 24 months and will typically involve a set of 10 modules for participants.

At the outset, discussions will generally be undertaken with the lead firms and each of the SME owners to ensure that they are fully aware of the requirements of the program and its measures of success. Discussions can extend to relevant government departments e.g. DTI and to SME funding organisations where this is relevant.

Programs are generally executed by a core team of PSA staff and by SME specialists in the each of the modules which will be trained.


The following modules are available:

  • Working with Customers

  • Managing your Business

  • Measuring your Business Performance

  • Establishing Structures and Reporting

  • Forecasting Cash Flow

  • Managing Working Capital

  • Assessing Assets and Liabilities

  • Managing People Performance

  • Structured Problem Solving

  • Managing Risk and Compliance


The choice of these modules and the associated content are informed by entrepreneurial research reports reviewed by PSA on those management practices which have had the biggest impact performance and sustainability of SMEs.

Before training takes place, a digital baseline assessment is conducted with each SME to establish their current level management practices and their digital competency. Each competency is rated on a scale of 1- 4 and the aim at the conclusion of any program is to get the SME to a Level 4 on the areas in which it has been trained.

Each module is trained over 1 day and comprises a set of slides, with trainer notes and accompanying documentation.  A number of modules are accompanied by tools e.g. around cash flow management, which will support participants in core activities which they are required to execute.

Typically modules are trained 1-2 months apart – this training can be undertaken either face to face or online with the former currently being preferred from an impact perspective.

Once a module has been trained it is followed up by a 0,5 day coaching (typically 2 x 2 hour sessions) around the outputs in order that these are applied to the SME itself. The coaching is best described as ‘mentoring with a coaching style’.

The coaching can involve individuals or small groups e.g., the SME owner and administrator or a number of SME owners together and because of the costs involved, coaching sessions are increasingly being conducted on-line with significant success.

During the course of coaching engagements and then through the baseline assessments, SME coaches will seek evidence that the training outputs have transitioned from ‘outputs’ to ‘outcomes and new practices’. This is evidenced by a portfolio kept by each participant and their coach.

Details of training, coaching engagements and progress are captured and stored in PSA’s cloud based data base and these are used to inform reporting and decision making.