Being able to ‘go virtual’ during the Covid-19 pandemic has been crucial for SMMEs. Transnet Pipelines and The Hope Factory equipped the SMMEs on their Enterprise Development Programme for Entrepreneurs with Disability with tools to help them work online and run their businesses virtually.
With unofficial employment at 30.8% (43.1% if one includes discouraged job-seekers), it is vital that South Africa does everything possible to support local entrepreneurs. CEO of Retail Capital, Karl Westvig, highlights ingredients that entrepreneurs need to survive and thrive during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pragma, an engineering company that delivers enterprise asset management solutions to asset-intensive industries, runs an enterprise development programme that identifies SMEs with the potential to provide subcontractor services across sectors. It aims to recruit and graduate more female black-owned businesses.
A 12-month programme called ‘Khulisa iBiznis’ (meaning ‘Grow your business), developed and implemented by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) Enterprise Development, J. P. Morgan and The Hope Factory, assisted 141 small businesses in Gauteng during 2020. The programme focuses on improving financial management and business growth.
Imvelisi’s Enviropreneurs Programme assists young environment-driven entrepreneurs who want to develop and grow businesses in the green sector. Funded by the Department of Science and Innovation, Imvelisi has partnered with GreenMatterZA and the South African Young Water Professionals Network to equip eco-innovators with the resources and mentorship that will lead to sustainable business development.
Youth unemployment is a pressing concern throughout Africa. RLabs assists young people by mobilising local resources to address their challenges, helping them to become social entrepreneurs.
ACTIVATE! Academy, the education arm of the NGO ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, has launched Zimele Africa, a youth portal that will help young people to start their own businesses. The free online resource, which is also a blended learning environment, focuses on skills development and mindset change, with courses on self-care, leadership, turning ideas into reality, enterprise development, civic education, critical thinking and more.
South Africa’s Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa) approved R1.4 billion in loans for 74 000 small businesses for the 2019/2020 financial year. Sefa offers financial products and services to SMMEs in a range of sectors, including services, manufacturing, agriculture, construction and green industries in South Africa.
Finfind’s Covid-19 Impact Report reveals findings on the impact Covid-19 has had on SMMEs during lockdown. It indicates that 42.7% of the businesses surveyed closed during the first five months of the pandemic.
Heineken’s involvement in developing small businesses forms part of its sustainability programme Brewing a Better World. The company runs multiple entrepreneur support programmes, including the Johannesburg-based incubator programme Orange Corners South Africa, an initiative supported by Dutch companies to train, mentor and fund young entrepreneurs across the country.
The South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE) has launched an entrepreneurship and innovation chapter to provide much-needed support for entrepreneurs. It intends to support all levels of innovation, entrepreneurship and the successful running of businesses, with the aim of creating employment.
Old Mutual launched a free online magazine for entrepreneurs during Global Entrepreneurship Week in 2020. Nine Yards magazine sets out to support entrepreneurs as they set out to build resilient, resourceful businesses.
Huawei and Vusi Thembekwayo, CEO of enterprise development agency MyGrowthFund, have joined forces to engage technology developers and entrepreneurs on the development of apps for small businesses, which can help them to grow and meet customer needs.
The Pitch UCT competition gives students at the University of Cape Town a chance to win monetary and mentorship prizes as they pitch their business ideas to the judges.
Sunlight’s More Than You Expect Heroes initiative has been set up to support entrepreneurial African women so they can better support their families and gain financial independence. In 2020, Sunlight identified three South African women entrepreneurial heroes who pivoted their business offerings during the pandemic.
"The Jobs Fund has partnered successfully with Black Umbrellas in the past, previously known as Shanduka Black Umbrellas, and has announced a new project that will focus predominantly on youth and women-owned SMEs
The Jobs Fund, a R9 billion fund established by the South African Government to facilitate sustainable employment amongst previously disadvantaged South Africans, youth and women, recently announced an innovative project with Black Umbrellas. This partnership will drive sustainable inclusion in South Africa’s small and medium enterprise (SME) sector by integrating skills development and practical business mentorship with an online application that will offer virtual support to a broader cohort of entrepreneurs."
In this article, SME South Africa have compiled a list of some of South Africa's largest Enterprise Supplier Development Programmes in a wide variety of sectors.
"The company says its initiatives are set to strengthen black economic empowerment through enterprise development which will stimulate economic growth and boost job creation. Samsung SA’s focus is on women and youth in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector and will drive the project through its Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP).
The programmes are reportedly aligned to the overarching objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP) Vision for 2030 and the Gauteng Township Economy Revitalisation Strategy."
" The Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) has collaborated with the SA Innovation Summit (SAIS), to empower female entrepreneurs with the skills and network to grow their businesses and increase their exposure to receive investment funding. The Fem-In-Tech Development Programme is open to South African start-ups in tech and tech-enabled sectors that have female representation as founders or top management. Fem-In-Tech aims to grow female entrepreneurship in South Africa and bridge the gap for women entrepreneurs in the investment market."
'Getting township economies to boom in the post-Covid-19 trade environment would require the township based businesses that depended on foot traffic to become more digitally focused to access wider markets. Youth Employment Service (YES) chief executive Dr Tashmia Ismail Saville said that South Africa must make township entrepreneurs part of a new competitive mindset and model that harnessed every opportunity to re-invigorate the stagnant township economies.
'"Leaders become great not because of their power but because of their ability to empower others.” - John Maxwell
In an online interview with Anoty Africa’s co-owner, Mr Vhutshilo Nemutshili, he shared this wonderful quote by Maxwell speaking about leadership and the power of shared knowledge. As we follow his entrepreneurial journey we recognise his resilient efforts to rise above the current crisis and still come up with fresh ideas to do business. We also get to see how he leaned on other expertise to increase his own knowledge during this time as well as his ability to share skills with others, even creating new jobs within the online shopping industry.'
"An accelerator programme has equipped 13 startups with the tools and skills needed to adopt the use of drone technology in South Africa along with the skills required to help this sector boost national employment. The accelerator programme was developed and created by Mzansi Aerospace Technologies with funding from Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA)."
'Skinny Sbu received customised financial and non-financial support from Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) for business growth and sustainability.
"USB launches Global Entrepreneurship Monitor South Africa (GEM SA) report in partnership with GEM SA and Seda.
The economic and social upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic underlines the need for a collective, and robust national strategy to unlock entrepreneurship in South Africa. Already before the pandemic, many aspects of the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem needed a major overhaul. This is highlighted in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor South Africa (GEM SA) 2019/2020 report.
GEM’s research output is considered the world’s most authoritative annual report on the global state of entrepreneurship. USB is the new custodian of this research in South Africa. The study included a survey sample of 3 300 people, and the national expert survey involved the input of 36 experts from diverse fields."
"The Women’s Entrepreneurship Development programme of the International Labour Organization (ILO-WED) works to empower budding and existing women entrepreneurs who want to start, run and grow their business and to create conducive conditions for inclusive, resilient and sustainable economies. It does so by addressing gendered imbalances in enterprise development in order to scale women entrepreneurs’ contributions to growth and sustainable development and to enable their meaningful participation in entrepreneurship ecosystems."
"Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) operating on the African continent face several challenges that threaten their growth and sustainability. These include limited access to markets, informality, financial inadequacies, and a lack of vital business skills in planning, financial management, marketing, and operations.
In response, diversified Pan-African financial services group, Sanlam together with the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) Enterprise and Supplier Development Initiative have developed a programme to help entrepreneurs gain access to markets, funding, and skills. Sanlam’s support for entrepreneurship is driven through the Sanlam Enterprise Supplier Development programme (ESD), which offers a tailored solution for business owners that caters exclusively to their needs.
Started several years ago, the group’s ESD programme has been advocating and supporting the acceleration of the growth of small and medium businesses in their supply chain."
"Joining forces, Experian South Africa, Absa and Township Fleva, on Thursday launched project Spana, an annual programme developed to provide small business loans to local entrepreneurs in Gauteng townships. Small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) are the ‘unseen sector’ of the South African economy and the challenges facing these businesses are evident, according to a 2018 report by the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The IFC report estimates that the total size of South Africa’s SMME market, including formal and informal enterprises, is 5.78 million of which only 14 percent are formalised. The SMME sector only grew in population by 15 percent between 2008 and 2017 according to the World Bank report, which is a reflection of the low survival rate, and almost stagnant growth rate of these entrepreneurs within this sector."
"Enterprise development has been growing in South Africa since entrepreneurs have been called on to come up with more innovative ideas. Our business development programs effective? As part of entrepreneur month, we focus on this subject that seeks to celebrate young entrepreneurs for their efforts in developing business, contributing to GDP growth and creating those much-needed jobs."
"Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing subsidiary of global technology giant Amazon, announced on Monday that it would launch a R365m investment in black-owned cloud computing businesses in South Africa through an equity equivalent investment programme.
The equity equivalent programme is an initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry aimed at allowing multinational companies to take part in the development of local black-owned small businesses and contribute towards the broad-based black economic empowerment of South Africa."
"While unemployment in South Africa was at an alarmingly high rate at 27.6%, some employed South Africans faced many challenges including earning salaries that weren't enough to get by on, despite being part of those fortunate enough to have a job. According to a new study by automated recruitment platform, Giraffe, 29% of working people earned less than the national minimum wage of R3,500 a month. For those earning above the minimum wage, the average salary was R6,400, which was not quite enough to get by on a monthly basis."
"The rate of unemployment in South Africa rose to 27.6% at the end of the first quarter (Q1) of the year. It’s the worst figure since Q3/2017, a nearly 15-year high. About 237 000 fewer people had jobs in Q1/2019 compared to Q4/2018. There are now 6.2 million South Africans who are actively looking for a job but can’t find one.
The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Kevin Lings, Chief Economist at Stanlib Asset Management."
"According to Statistics South Africa, the country’s unemployment rate has risen to 27.6% at the end of the first quarter of the year, the highest level since the third quarter of 2017. There are now 6.2 million South Africans who are actively looking for a job but can’t find one. To unpack what the unemployment rate, Eusebius McKaiser chats to Institute for Economic Justice policy director Neil Coleman, economist Dr Thabi Leoka and Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute director Isobel Frye."
Whatever the problems in the small business sector, South Africans are enterprising. With the correct support directed at high potential established small businesses, a lighter corporate governance load, and entrepreneurially friendly legislation, entrepreneurship can be the solution to reducing poverty and increasing job creation.
The NDP states that about 90 per cent of jobs will be created through small and expanding companies by 2030. On this episode, CNBC AFRICA will hone in on enterprise development from its role in the South African economy to whether or not the country has the right regulatory framework in place to help drive this sector with Nomvula Makgotlho, chief director of the Ministry of Small Business Development, Roy Ross, chief executive of Business Banking Africa for Barclays Africa, Miriam Altman, National Planning Commissioner and Matsi Modise national executive director of the South African Black Entrepreneurs Forum. CNBC Africa, 2015
Only 2 percent of South Africa's population start businesses that survive the three year mark. Growth in these numbers is important, however, as it will benefit the economy by providing jobs thus reducing social grants issued by government. Interview on CNBC Africa, 2013.
10 ways to spend Enterprise Development are:
Financial services firm Sasfin is the latest banker to add a small-and-medium sized enterprise-focused digital banking platform, which aims to help entrepreneurs to accelerate their businesses by making finance-related administration seamless.
A study by research firm Javelin Strategy & Research, titled 2018 Small Business Digital Banking & Payments Trends, states that access to viable mobile and digital banking technologies will also help boost financial inclusion of small to medium sized into any economy.
If entrepreneurship is really to be reinvented in South Africa it needs to be part of a larger paradigm shift at the level of the market economy. This includes:
Small businesses are not simply just smaller versions of big business; instead they are vulnerable as they are small and new and consequently need a supportive environment and a mix of responsive policy interventions.
The Eskom Development Foundation visited three Port Elizabeth-based small and medium enterprises at the end of March, to see how the businesses have been performing since participating in the 2017 Eskom Business Investment competition (BIC).
Ductile Plastics and Extruders, LBN Hygiene Solutions and Lungisupreme Brands SA all featured and were finalists in the competition.
The new EU programme 'Employment Promotion through small, micro and medium enterprises Support Programme for South Africa', worth €52 million, will help to boost job creation in South Africa by supporting the country's National Development Plan 2030, which foresees that 90% of new jobs in the country should come from small and emerging business by 2030. Implemented by the South African Department for Small Business Development, the new programme will help reduce the cost of doing business for small enterprises, improve business, production and marketing skills, increase access to funding by de-risking enterprise development lending and keeping the interest rate at reasonable levels.
As part of Eskom’s corporate social investment programme, the Eskom Development Foundation, through the BIC, is
encouraging and rewarding entrepreneurship by providing a platform for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to conquer the next major barrier in business development.
The BIC is an annual entrepreneurship competition by Eskom. Black-owned small and medium enterprises in the agriculture and agro processing, construction and engineering, manufacturing and trade and services sectors that have been in operation for at least 24 months are granted entry into the competition.
A group of women from Soweto, Tembisa and Mamelodi graduated from the Gauteng Township Retail Enterprise Development programme, which aims to empower female entrepreneurs involved within the township retail industry.
FIFTEEN small businesses, drawn from across the Nelson Mandela Metro, recently graduated from a six-month Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC)/Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber (NMBBC) enterprise development programme which has attracted R1,052 million in funding from the ECDC in the last four phases.
Besides receiving a certificate during the graduation ceremony, graduates will receive a year’s free membership of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.
The latest matric pass rate for 2017 is around 75%, meaning that at least a quarter of all leaners who wrote their matric exams in December 2017 cannot be admitted to further their studies at any of the mainstream further education institutions, that is, TVETs, Colleges, Universities of Technology and universities. That is despite the fact that these institutions can only admit a limited number of students for formal academic programmes due to limited capacity and resources. Thus, further painting a gloomy picture regarding the future of young people in the country. Entrepreneurship and leadership are some of the key areas that our country needs to focus a lot more on. A career in entrepreneurship should not be seen as a career of last resort when everything else has failed.
A 2017 survey showed that only 10% of working-age South Africans were planning to start their own businesses within the next three years, compared to close to 42% of people in other African countries – largely due to poor maths and science skills.