In her budget speech during the National Assembly on the 18 May 2012, the deputy minister, Elizabeth Thabethe, pointed out that the success of the economy is dependent upon the increased participation of entrepreneurial businesses in the mainstream economy.
She said small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) are principal driving forces of economic growth and development. She continued to point out that many SMMEs are not connected to the mainstream economy and that this remains a challenge for government. Efforts to create interconnectedness will result in the creation of value-chains across sectors.
The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) has put action to the minister's words by approving a grant for The Cybercharge Corporation, to assist them in marketing their services and informing entrepreneurs of the Cybercharge service available to them.
Cybercharge, with its strategic intent of linking humanity for the purpose of fostering greater cohesion throughout supply chains, provides the entrepreneurial market with a tool that will assist entrepreneurs to be online, have a professional image and have a mass communication tool. For a nominal fee entrepreneurs can now communicate in the same manner as corporates, with personalised mobile accessible e-mail, a website, fax to email, email to fax and a two-way sms system. No longer do entrepreneurs have to use an @gmail or @yahoo e-mail address, portraying the image of being a fly-by-night business without any substance behind them.
A window to the company
"Your e-mail address is the window to your company," says Isaac Lakhi from Cybercharge. "What people see when they open your e-mail will determine whether they consider you a substantial business. It is important to show substance and to have a personalised e-mail address is the starting point". The name of a company is the beginning of a complete branding exercise. Even if it is a professional person working in his or her own capacity, it provides a better image if John Smit has his e-mail as email@example.com rather than firstname.lastname@example.org. In this market, it is difficult to build up a strong reputation and run a successful business. Entrepreneurs need all the help they can get and portraying the right image will help.
"The money from the grant will be used to inform more entrepreneurs that this service is available," says Lakhi. "We have chosen a Currin't Events/Trinitas Consulting partnership to implement a marketing and communications strategy for us. We believe that once entrepreneurs are aware of the service, it will contribute towards the success rates of entrepreneurship in South Africa. If you can communicate professionally, you can do business."