The SME community is expected to provide 90% of new employment opportunities by 2030, according to the National Development Plan, making SMEs the driving force behind South Africa's economy. This however places even greater pressure and expectation on a sector that already lacks support and funding. Evidence of this was abundant in the 2017 National Small Business Survey released by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC).
Mike Anderson, NSBC founder and CEO
Mike Anderson, NSBC founder and CEO says that running your own small business is becoming tougher and tougher: “SMEs already account for 52% of the country’s GDP and yet the employment expectation is becoming so much higher. Our National Small Business Survey revealed that there are still some significant challenges that SMEs need assistance and support with such as funding, cash flow management and marketing.”
Anderson says that what is concerning is that all three challenges are crucial to long-term business success: “We need to identify and implement more programmes and financial support systems that will make a meaningful impact to these crucial businesses.”
The 2017 National Small Business Survey, now in its 9th year, provides a pertinent view of life as a SME, clearly identifying what works, what doesn’t and where small businesses still require help. Anderson says it is clear that the pressure is on and if SMEs are to succeed, they need more assistance from industry, Government and financial institutions.
Anderson feels passionate about providing SME support: “The NSBC is the driving force fuelling small business growth. The real purpose behind our organisation is to foster the sustainability and growth of the SME sector. We are constantly looking at factors that will drive job creation, alleviate unemployment and nurture the country’s entrepreneurial spirit.”
The most important area identified within the survey as critical to addressing business growth challenges is increased marketing spend. Anderson says this is a reoccurring requirement and is also the area where majority of SMEs require assistance.
In terms of the role of the NSBC, Anderson says that members have listed their top five requirements for assistance as follows:
Business to business networking
Training and development
Sales and marketing
Access to finance
Technology solutions to grow a business
He says that it is evident that SMEs are under pressure and need more assistance if they are to achieve the National Development Plan’s growth expectations: “SMEs are the lifeblood of South African business and we need to continuing helping and growing these businesses, reaching new levels of employment and innovation.”
However, it is not all doom and gloom, next week, the NSBC in association with World Famous Events and sponsors Absa, DHL, MiWay, SAP Business One, Ford, MTN Business and Norton by Symantec recognises new national business champions at the entrepreneurial event of the year – The 2017 South African Small Business Awards. “With a record number of entries, it is clear that whoever you are in any economic climate, success can be realised through passion, persistence and perseverance,” concludes Anderson.
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