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We're Business Partners Limited, one of the leading business financiers for viable small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the world. We provide business finance ranging from R500 000 to R50 million to established entrepreneurs with a viable formal business.
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Small businesses are optimistic about SA’s democratic future post-2024 elections – Q1 SME Index
Anxiety levels around what the outcome of the 2024 South African elections would mean for small businesses, were relatively low in the lead up to 29 May. Like many of the country’s everyday citizens, many SME owners became caught up in the frenzy of the first quarter of the year as political contenders ramped up their campaign efforts. However, despite the uncertainty of the times, small business confidence has maintained its steady upward trajectory as SMEs press on towards positive post-election horizons. 11 Jun 2024 Read more

Efficiency is the key to surviving tough economic times as a small business – here’s what to consider
Small businesses have been put through the wringer in recent years. Sluggish GDP growth, fiscal constraints and rising costs coupled with load shedding have placed many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) under immense strain. Still, in the true spirit of resilience – a trait with which the SME community has become synonymous – many businesses have found inventive ways to weather the storm. Survival strategies vary, but the solution to sustaining a business in times of economic volatility lies in maximising efficiency. 3 Jun 2024 Read more

Why optimism and entrepreneurship go hand in hand (and why it’s crucial to a growing business)
‘Blind optimists.’ That’s what entrepreneurs have been referred to throughout history – and for good reason. Entrepreneurs have the unique ability to envision a future that doesn’t yet exist and to take steps to make that vision a reality, even though they may be unsure whether those steps are being taken in the right direction. 31 May 2024 Read more

New SME survey results reveal upcoming national elections a deep concern for SA small business owners
The 2024 elections are set to be one of the most monumental and contested in South African history. Several shifts in the electoral arena; including the introduction of independent candidates to the voting roll, the unprecedented large number of political parties contesting the elections as well as the uncertain majority of the ruling party, have added to the national air of uncertainty. 25 Apr 2024 Read more

30 years on, entrepreneurs are making the most of SA’s enduring miracle
As Freedom Day approaches, it is worth considering just how astounding the story is of Nyangani Tshabalala, says David Morobe, executive general manager: Impact Investing at Business Partners Limited. In any setting, the tale of the young entrepreneur whose initiative has helped thousands of students overcome their education deficit to gain access to higher education would be amazing. But in the South African context, his story is miraculous on so many levels, says Morobe. 24 Apr 2024 Read more

3 ways SME owners can cultivate a culture of human-rights in their businesses
Human rights may well be the last thing on a stressed and busy entrepreneur’s mind, but there are surprising advantages in thinking about a business’ role in the free world’s governing doctrine. This is the opinion of Kgomotso Ramoenyane, executive general manager for Human Resources at Business Partners Limited. 25 Mar 2024 Read more

SA entrepreneurship event sheds light on the need and the value of women in business
Despite the quantum leaps being made towards gender parity in the world of business, women entrepreneurs are still outnumbered by their male counterparts. To really make a difference in building a more robust and inclusive SME ecosystem, this status quo needs to change. Only by addressing the unique needs of women in business, can the challenges they face be turned into opportunities. A recent showcase entitled the Women in Business Symposium, spoke to these and other key issues facing women entrepreneurs in South Africa. 14 Mar 2024 Read more

4 ways to turn your business idea into a thriving business
There are many different paths that entrepreneurs take to realise their dreams and fund a business idea. For some, the journey is a straight-forward trajectory from getting a business loan to selling the first product or service. For others, the journey to success takes many twists and turns, and necessitates an iteration – or even a pivot, to get the formula 100% right. 12 Mar 2024 Read more

SA’s hospitality industry: is owning a restaurant still a viable business idea?
Almost two years after the lifting of lockdown regulations, the local hospitality industry is still reeling from the losses incurred during the Covid-19 pandemic. Slowly but surely, glimmers of hope are starting to appear on the horizon. Overall, research and SME sentiment on the future of the industry is decidedly optimistic. As such, now might be the perfect time for aspiring restaurant business owners to plant the seeds for future success. 11 Mar 2024 Read more

3 game-changing digital marketing trends to watch (and explore) for your small business
No statement could be more apt for the digital age than: ‘change is the only constant.’ With new and exciting technology emerging by the minute, it can be difficult to keep up. But, by being selective and choosing the mediums that speak directly to your business and your audience, you can capitalise on the trends and ride the wave to business success. 5 Mar 2024 Read more

How to ensure you’ve started the year off on the right note: 3 areas for entrepreneurs to focus on
2023 put small businesses through the wringer. The cost-of-living crisis threatened the buying power of ordinary consumers, and the rising cost of borrowing due to interest rates made it more difficult for many entrepreneurs to access funding. Despite these very challenging realities, small and medium enterprises (SME) owners maintained a cautious level of optimism that things would look up with the arrival of a new year. Now, as the momentum of 2024 begins to speed up, small business owners need to review, reset and reposition themselves for a successful year. 4 Mar 2024 Read more

3 ways ChatGPT can be a game-changer for South African SMEs
Generative AI was undoubtedly one of the biggest buzzwords of 2023. The user-friendly generative AI chatbot, ChatGPT was launched by OpenAI in late 2022 and since then, has nothing short of revolutionised the way people interact with AI technology. The release of ChatGPT brought AI out of the world of ‘fringe technology’ and into the mainstream within record time. Like their global counterparts, South African small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are slowly learning how to leverage tools like ChatGPT to build more robust and efficient businesses. 1 Mar 2024 Read more

Advice for SA entrepreneurs: the top 3 industries to build a business in this year
Starting a business in South Africa comes with a unique set of challenges. However, as many small business owners will attest, the journey is also immensely rewarding. 8 Feb 2024 Read more

3 factors that small businesses need to consider when building their workforce
South Africa’s Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has revealed that an estimated 80% of its cases originate from the employees of small businesses. This finding highlights the pressing need for local small businesses to familiarise themselves with employment law and ensure compliance in order to avoid unnecessary and potentially costly disputes. 7 Feb 2024 Read more

New year, new connections: How to expand your business network in 2024
Becoming a successful entrepreneur involves hard work, determination and grit. However, as many of the world’s most renowned entrepreneurs have attested, a generous amount of good luck often also plays a role in getting to the top. Sometimes, that spell of ‘luck’ relies on being in the right place, at the right time – and more importantly, talking to the right people. 29 Jan 2024 Read more

Strategies for SME success in 2024: The top 3 trends to watch
Last year came with its fair share of opportunities and challenges for the SME sector. A lagging economy, rising interest rates and cost of living coupled with high unemployment held many small businesses back from reaching their full potential. On the upside, many businesses who were able to innovate their way through tough times emerged more resilient and ready to take on the challenges of the new year. Now, as 2024 begins to gain momentum, SMEs need to leverage the latest industry trends to build sustainable, robust ventures that are built to last. 26 Jan 2024 Read more

The year in review: 3 key takeaways from 2023 for SA’s small businesses
Heading into 2023, the local small business community was ‘cautiously optimistic’. 2023 was the start of a fresh, new, pandemic-free year and many small businesses were looking to recover their losses and return to business as usual. However, the ongoing and deteriorating energy crisis, the knock-on effects of geopolitical tensions abroad and cost-of-living crisis, put a damper on these positive prospects and drove 2023 in another direction. In response to these mounting pressures, many small businesses renewed their focus on getting the basics right and emerged more productive and efficient than ever. 19 Dec 2023 Read more

3 local entrepreneurs to watch
Entrepreneurs are the unsung heroes of the South African economy. The small business sector is an important source of job creation and for millions of South Africans, it is a driver of income that supports the business owners as well as their families and communities. 6 Dec 2023 Read more

Beyond funding: how strategic support and expert advice can take SA small businesses to the next level
In South Africa’s highly competitive small business environment, entrepreneurs need a substantial number of resources to get off the ground and achieve growth. While access to funding is one of these crucial resources, support in the form of expert advice and specialist technical assistance is just as essential. With access to the right kind of expertise, training and ongoing mentorship, small businesses have all the tools they need to be a success. 5 Dec 2023 Read more

4 tips to prepare your small business for Black Friday
Black Friday, one of the world’s most anticipated shopping events on the calendar, is just around the corner. For major retailers, this is the time of year to grab the attention of bargain-hunters, early-bird festive gift shoppers and individuals on the lookout for self-care spoils. With some careful planning and strategic thinking, local small businesses can also get in on the action. 23 Nov 2023 Read more

The business of Black Friday: 3 strategies for SMEs to boost sales
According to some of South Africa’s major banks, 2022 Black Friday sales volumes returned to pre-pandemic levels. The country’s most anticipated annual shopping event raked in billions of rands, with single transactions in some cases, totaling hundreds of thousands of rands. This year, with summer in full swing and the festive season fast approaching, the hype around Black Friday is palpable. For small businesses, this period represents a rare opportunity to cash in and firm up revenue ahead of the end of the year. 22 Nov 2023 Read more

New asset- and short-term finance solutions to cater to the need for growth-stage funding
Turning a small business into an empire in a high-risk environment with a high failure rate, is no small feat. In South Africa, access to funding can bridge the seemingly insurmountable gap between what it takes to get a venture off the ground and what's needed to reach the next phase of strategic growth. And part of offering true value in terms of access to market and sustained growth, is simplifying finance for business owners - meeting entrepreneurs where they are. 6 Nov 2023 Read more

The 3 most common challenges facing SA's entrepreneurs
Along with the vast amount of opportunity, the South African business climate also presents entrepreneurs with a great deal of challenges. This has been particularly true within the context of the past two years, which have been characterised by the impact of a persistent economic downturn. Pressures such as the ongoing energy crisis have been exacerbated by the rising cost of fuel, amidst other headwinds including adverse weather patterns and spates of civil unrest and violence. 6 Nov 2023 Read more

Mobile commerce: the next frontier for local small businesses
Online sales in South Africa have been on a gradual increase since the onset of the pandemic, bringing the industry to over R30bn by the end of 2020. And, with mobile penetration in the country reaching unprecedented heights, mobile commerce or 'm-commerce' is on industry experts' watchlist, with retailers across multiple sectors looking to cash in on the trend. Local small businesses should not miss the boat of aligning with this growing direction as customer behaviour evolves. 3 Nov 2023 Read more

3 ways small business owners can support employee mental health
The pandemic years brought issues of mental health in the workplace to the forefront. For many South African employees, the pressures associated with making an unexpected but seamless transition to remote working proved taxing, with many employees struggling to regulate their schedules and maintain a work-life balance. 24 Oct 2023 Read more

Navigating entrepreneurship: The crucial role of mental resilience
For entrepreneurs with a natural drive to work autonomously, build a dream and make a meaningful contribution towards the economic development of their communities and country, nothing is more rewarding than launching and running a successful business. 23 Oct 2023 Read more

Going virtual: The opportunities that the metaverse holds for SA small businesses
While the notion of the 'metaverse' is still fairly conceptual, has lost some of its initial appeal and will evolve along with consumer trends and online user behaviour, several large companies are already seeing the benefits of offering customers immersive, digital experiences. With the quantum leaps being made in the realms of virtual and augmented reality, the metaverse has the potential to open up doors of opportunity - not only for large corporations, but for small businesses too. 12 Oct 2023 Read more

3 steps for small businesses to bolster cybersecurity
It has been widely reported that South Africa is poised to overtake Nigeria as the continent's capital for cybercrime. According to the latest research conducted by Interpol, South Africa has seen a staggering 100% increase in mobile banking application fraud over the last year and is estimated to experience as many as 577 malware attacks every hour. While the broader media have made great strides in bringing awareness to the prominence of cybercrime in the country, the message needs to be amplified in the small business sector in particular. 10 Oct 2023 Read more

Sound financial advice and mentorship an imperative for SA entrepreneurs
In an environment filled with economic curveballs, South African businesses face just as many challenges as they do opportunities. With cash flow management and funding being paramount to the survival of a small business, access to expert advice, mentorship and guidance on financial matters is one of the most invaluable tools in a small businesses' toolkit. Being able to work with money, exercise responsible financial habits and take a long-term view on a business' financial wellbeing are not always inherent skills of every entrepreneur. Rather, they are skills that are learnt and developed over time, with much patience and practice. 9 Oct 2023 Read more

Why SA small business owners should be proud of their heritage of resilience
Following the dip taken during the pandemic years, the South African economy has faced a number of headwinds on its road to recovery. The current economic downturn has been characterised by high levels of inflation, the rising cost of credit, fuel hikes and a cost-of-living crisis. These realities have placed millions of small businesses across the country under immense strain. Despite these challenges, many of these businesses continue to demonstrate a "heritage of resilience" and maintain an optimistic outlook heading in 2024. 22 Sep 2023 Read more

Three of the most common hiring mistakes in a small business (and how to avoid them)
Small business owners must understand how to go about hiring the right people, in order to build teams that can get the job done, in the correct way and within the right time frame. Although every startup has different requirements in terms of the kind of people and expertise it needs to get off the ground and be a success, there are a few basic guidelines that should be followed when it comes to the hiring process, and how to avoid hiring the wrong talent. 22 Sep 2023 Read more

The power of pitching your business and how to get it right
There are a range of skills that are required and critical to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Some of these include negotiation skills, good communication, time management, an appetite for ongoing learning, risk tolerance, resilience and adaptability. Another one of these critical skills is the ability to pitch your business to potential investors or new customers. 14 Sep 2023 Read more

The state of SA tourism: How's business?
South Africa's tourism industry was among the hardest hit sectors by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The introduction of strict lockdown regulations all but shut down thousands of small tourism businesses and brought the sector's value chain to a standstill. Now, recent reports indicate a gradual improvement, with tourism volumes and international arrivals showing a steady incline. Ahead of the busy end-of-year period, small businesses need to step up with strategies to leverage the opportunities that exist within the sector as local and international tourists prepare to make their way through our country. 14 Sep 2023 Read more

Spring strategies for small businesses: how to make your business bloom
Spring is officially on our doorstep, and for many small businesses, the beginning of spring marks the onset of the busy season. It's been a tough winter for small business across a range of sectors, specifically retail, which saw a year-on-year decline in sales during the first half of 2023. According to recent statistics, this decline was most notable in the hardware, paint and glass, household furniture, appliances and equipment industries. 7 Sep 2023 Read more

3 ways small businesses can compete for the best skills in a competitive labour market
Like several of its global counterparts, South Africa is experiencing a critical skills shortage, particularly in finance, health and IT sectors. The current skills deficit can be attributed to a number of factors, including the migration of young talent to opportunities overseas as well as remote work prospects. The impact of this attrition of the skills base has upped the ante for local businesses competing for the best talent. Within this highly competitive environment, small businesses need to be very strategic about how they attract and retain their workforces. 6 Sep 2023 Read more

Against all odds: Entrepreneur of the Year represents a golden opportunity for local business owners
As engines of economic growth and generators of jobs, the well-being of South Africa's small business sector is inextricably tied to broader imperatives such as financial inclusion, a more equitable nation, and social upliftment. This is according to David Morobe, spokesperson for the Business Partners Ltd Entrepreneur of the Year® (EOY) competition, who says that recognising and rewarding success in the sector can play a significant role in encouraging entrepreneurial activity and resilience. 25 Aug 2023 Read more

The knowledge economy: What it is and why it should matter to SA small businesses
The concept of the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) has been around for over twenty years and has come to represent the interconnectedness of everyday objects and devices that can store and transmit data. Now, well into what many regard as the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), the IoT and the way we use information is shaping a new global economy - one in which knowledge and intellectual capital are the most valuable commodities. For small businesses (particularly in Africa), the 'knowledge economy' represents a new horizon for optimised innovation, operational efficiency and global competitiveness. 24 Aug 2023 Read more

Here's how to effectively build your online presence as a small business
The rate of digital adoption in South Africa has rapidly accelerated in recent years. Today, over 72% of the population uses the internet, which equates to an estimated 43.48 million internet users. With more of the local population adopting digital platforms for working, shopping and playing, small businesses have a golden opportunity to cash in by strengthening their online presence. 18 Aug 2023 Read more

Alternative power supply solutions critical as business confidence thwarted by ongoing energy crisis
The impact of South Africa's sluggish economic growth has echoed across numerous sectors, with business owners struggling to meet the worsening demands of the ongoing energy crisis. Currently, at least 34% of small businesses cannot afford the costs involved with installing a back-up power supply or alternative energy source while 37% cannot afford the financing programmes available to invest in alternative energy solutions. Despite these challenges, business owners continue to show signs of their well-documented resilience as their businesses gear up for the busy season. 17 Aug 2023 Read more

Women entrepreneurs in SA: Growth, funding, challenges and solutions
South Africa has emerged a clear leader on the continent, as an enabler of women's entrepreneurship. However, as President Ramaphosa pointed out last year, despite efforts from multiple segments of society, only 41% of South African women aged between 15 and 60 years are regarded as being economically active. While we should celebrate the significant strides being made towards tackling gender disparities in entrepreneurship, we should strive as a collective to address major challenges that prevent progress such as access to funding. 15 Aug 2023 Read more

3 SA businesswomen who are making their mark in SA today
Women make great entrepreneurs for a number of reasons. Industries like insurance view women as having relatively lower risk exposures than their male counterparts - a factor that allows them to generally make more calculated and informed decisions. A study found that women entrepreneurs are incredibly resourceful when it comes to starting their own businesses, despite the adversity they often face. 10 Aug 2023 Read more

Company culture as a cornerstone of long-term success and the metrics that really matter
A growing body of global research has linked a healthy company culture to key performance metrics such as profitability, productivity and talent retention. The Covid-19 pandemic brought issues related to employee wellness front and centre, further emphasising the direct correlation between company culture and business success. Now, in a post-pandemic world, more leaders need to take up the mantle of fostering better workplace environments. The return on this investment can reap long-term and far-reaching benefits. 27 Jul 2023 Read more

How to find the right partner for your small business
Transforming a business idea into a fully-fledged venture is certainly no small feat. For some entrepreneurs, undertaking this mammoth task is a job best accomplished by collaborating with a business partner. While working with a business partner does come with its own unique set of challenges, in many cases, the pros outweigh the cons. 26 Jul 2023 Read more

SA's manufacturing sector and the golden opportunities for SMEs
South Africa's manufacturing sector is one of several areas of interest, identified in the National Development Plan (NDP) as an industry poised for job creation and GDP growth. Despite several hurdles having thwarted the industry's progress over the past few years, efforts by the public and private sectors to revitalise and expand South Africa's manufacturing capabilities, present an encouraging prospect for small- and medium-sized (SMEs). 25 Jul 2023 Read more

Save today, succeed tomorrow: 3 effective saving strategies for small businesses
South Africa's small business sector is a tough environment to break into, but those who succeed in weathering the storms of the first few years of business, have a real shot at scaling their business to new heights. Arguably, effective financial management is the single most important aspect of running a successful venture, part of which involves saving on a regular and consistent basis. 19 Jul 2023 Read more

How to know if your business idea is the next big thing
The idea of starting your own business, especially in the face of the challenges that exist within the South African environment, may feel daunting. But don't be discouraged - every thriving business empire ever built, began as nothing more than an idea. That is a universal truth that applies to businesses of every kind and size, from history-making brands like Apple to your local spaza shop. 18 Jul 2023 Read more

3 young SA entrepreneurs with inspiring stories of resilience and perseverance
As the new, emerging businesspeople, South African youth represent immense potential. They are expected to play a pivotal role in growing the economy, enabling social cohesion and driving positive change. 17 Jul 2023 Read more

Why South Africa needs more small businesses
While small businesses may very well be the unsung heroes of the South African economy, their contribution to national development is unmistakable. Creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurship is therefore not only good for business but it is also necessary to build a more equitable and prosperous economy. 14 Jul 2023 Read more

How to build South Africa's entrepreneurial capacity
The important role that small businesses play in sustaining and growing the South African economy has been well-documented. Estimates show that small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) contribute as much as 34% to the country's total GDP. 5 Jul 2023 Read more

Surviving the mid-winter slump: Tips for small businesses
The winter months are typically slower for many South African small businesses, particularly for those active in the tourism and retail sectors. Traditionally, the colder weather keeps consumers indoors, resulting in fewer weekends away, as well as a noticeable drop in non-essential shopping trips. This year, the seasonal downward trend is set to be exacerbated by the ongoing energy crisis, rising interest rates and the depreciation of the rand. For the millions of affected small businesses, surviving this slump will require laser-focus on strategic planning and the constructive use of time over quieter periods. 4 Jul 2023 Read more

Why aspiring young entrepreneurs hold the key to SA's future
At just under 21 million, South African youth make up the country's largest demographic. Referred to by World Bank vice president for Africa as being the continent's most 'valuable asset', African youth represent untapped potential. They are, in a very real sense, the future leaders, innovators, scholars and entrepreneurs who will play a central role in determining the trajectory of socioeconomic development in South Africa. The extent of that role, however, relies on whether the youth are provided with the support needed to counter ills such as economic exclusion, limited education and training, restricted access to funding as well as inequality. 3 Jul 2023 Read more

Call for increased SME sector support to foster SA economic recovery
The onset of Covid-19 in 2020 and subsequent energy crisis, have dealt deafening blows to the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) industry. Now, as the sector and the country at large fights to enter a phase of economic stability, small businesses represent one of South Africa's most promising opportunities for economic recovery. 30 Jun 2023 Read more

Small business solution to sustainable growth and development in Africa
Several economic analysts and financial sector experts have identified Africa as the next frontier for growth and development. Currently, the continent has the youngest population in the world, with a median age of 18.8 years as of 2022. This, coupled with the fact that several of its markets are nearing maturity, signifies a golden opportunity for businesses to take the lead in stimulating economic growth. Powered by this momentum, African small businesses are the key to provide solutions to address some of the continent's most pressing challenges. 2 Jun 2023 Read more

Deeds office delays got you down? Here's how to expedite your business property registration
Lockdown restrictions and periodic office closures during the pandemic hampered the administrative capabilities of several key governmental departments, including the Deeds Office. Just as we were experiencing some improvements, the advent of Stage 6 load shedding has resulted in another backlog in the processing of property registrations, many of which involve commercial properties. With some careful planning and preparation, however, business owners can play a proactive role in expediting the process. 1 Jun 2023 Read more

Climate change: What risk does it pose to SA small businesses?
Countries all over the world are witnessing the measurable realities of climate change in the form of increased water scarcity, changing rainfall patterns, extreme droughts and intensified natural disasters such as floods. Great emphasis has been placed on the role of governments, policymakers and leaders of big business in driving the sustainability agenda. But there is much that can be done at a grassroots level, starting with small businesses as the building blocks of socioeconomic development. 31 May 2023 Read more

The impact that load shedding is having on small businesses and their employees
The cost of load shedding in South Africa has exceeded an estimated R1.2tn - notwithstanding the losses accumulated during the current financial year. Some of this financial impact has been shouldered by the thousands of small businesses which are the backbone of the economy. The real cost of load shedding, however, goes beyond just rands and cents - the energy crisis continues to have a profoundly negative impact on the overall morale and productivity levels of the country's employees. 30 May 2023 Read more

Why South Africa needs more small businesses
While small businesses may very well be the unsung heroes of the South African economy, their contribution to national development is unmistakable. Creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurship is therefore not only good for business but it is also necessary to build a more equitable and prosperous economy. 8 May 2023 Read more

3 mindset shifts that will help you deal with rejection as a business owner
Did you know that J.K Rowling, world-renowned author of the Harry Potter series was rejected 12 times before a publisher agreed to publish her work? Or that Steven Spielberg was rejected several times by the University of Southern California before being successfully admitted as a cinematic arts student? 5 May 2023 Read more

SA small business confidence takes a knock as the energy crisis intensifies
The escalation of the energy crisis in South Africa, which has brought with it the onset of indefinite stage 6 loadshedding, has had an eroding effect on business confidence. Across all indicators, the confidence of small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has plummeted once more after following an upward trajectory in the lead up to the end of 2022. Hopes of making a comeback will rely on the ability of small businesses to divert to alternative sources of energy. 4 May 2023 Read more

Business Partners Limited launches a R400m Energy Fund for SMEs
According to data published by the South African Reserve Bank, the accumulative loss of stage six load shedding amounts to between R204mn to R900m per day. A proportion of these losses are incurred by the thousands of small businesses who simply do not have the resources to install backup sources of energy to continue operations during power cuts. In a bid to provide business owners with much needed relief and finance to invest in viable alternatives, Business Partners Limited has today launched a R400m Energy Fund for small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 21 Apr 2023 Read more

How to bolster your small business against the impact of energy price hikes
The recent decision by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) to authorise an almost 19% price hike on electricity has been met with fierce criticism from several fronts, including the small- to medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector. 3 Apr 2023 Read more

How to boost the development of South Africa's SME sector: lessons from other emerging markets
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are the backbone of economic development in emerging markets like India, South Africa, Kenya and Colombia, where these enterprises contribute up to 40% of national GDP. Recent years have seen the SME sector in these nations develop at different speeds, with countries like Brazil joining economic powerhouses like the UK and America in topping the list of countries with the largest new business growth. In these inspiring examples are key learning opportunities for South African small businesses. 31 Mar 2023 Read more

Expert advice: How South African businesswomen can thrive
Supporting and financing women to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions is central to achieving the broader objective of fostering a more diverse and inclusive business environment. In a country like South Africa, where small businesses have been found to be one of the strongest drivers of GDP growth, the need to support women entrepreneurs aligns with the greater call for economic development. 29 Mar 2023 Read more

Women entrepreneurship on the steady rise in SA but access to funding is still lagging
The South African Women Entrepreneurs Job Creators Survey found that women gravitate towards industries whose development supports job creation. The financial inclusion of women entrepreneurs as active contributors to the South African economy is therefore one of the most important building blocks of a more equitable and economically active society. Collective and systematic efforts towards making this vision a reality is beginning to produce promising results, with more South African women becoming business owners. 8 Mar 2023 Read more

3 digital tools to futureproof your SME
Technological advancement has, within a very short period of time, opened up new windows of opportunity for small businesses to improve several key metrics including productivity, operational costs, efficiency, and time management. 7 Mar 2023 Read more

A simple guide on how to register a business in South Africa
Market research. Business plan. Financing plan. Location. Business name. If you've ticked all of these boxes, the next natural step you'll need to take during your entrepreneurial journey is to register your business. 6 Mar 2023 Read more

Small businesses urged to 'go solar' following the 2023 Budget Speech
If anything, the 2023 Budget Speech revealed it was that devising a targeted plan to solve South Africa's ongoing energy crisis remains the government's top priority. The immediate future will see a concerted and collective focus on bringing together the public and private sectors in a bid to fuel the clean-energy transition and end loadshedding. For small businesses looking to ride this wave on the path to post-pandemic recovery, the key is to "go solar". 3 Mar 2023 Read more

SME wish list ahead of the 2023 National Budget Speech
Last year saw local small businesses emerge from the pandemic years tentative but 'cautiously optimistic' about the prospects of economic recovery. Unfortunately, however, several socio-economic factors have served to erode business confidence and thwart efforts to rebuild an already struggling sector. 21 Feb 2023 Read more

3 top small business trends and opportunities to tap into in 2023
All things considered, 2022 was a year of recovery for the thousands of South African small businesses who weathered the turbulence of the pandemic, including several systemic economic hurdles. 15 Feb 2023 Read more

The year ahead: what will 2023 hold for South Africa's small businesses?
As the world continues to recover from the pandemic, our country's economic outlook in 2023 remains lacklustre. 14 Feb 2023 Read more

A look at the trends that will drive the development of the SA SME sector in 2023
Last year was a turbulent period for South Africa's small business sector. With it came all the trappings of a business survival bootcamp: rising petrol costs, supply chain instabilities, high inflation, interest rate hikes, unreliable electricity supply, and a political horizon marked by uncertainty. For the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who were put through their paces and came out on top, 2023 holds its fair share of obstacles and opportunities, many of which exist within the realm of technological innovation. 13 Feb 2023 Read more

5 new year's resolutions for South African small business owners and entrepreneurs
The start of the year presents an ideal opportunity for reflection - a chance to pause and regroup before jumping head-first into the hustle and bustle of another year. This is the opinion of Jeremy Lang, chief investment officer at Business Partners Limited. 10 Feb 2023 Read more

Small business sales strategies to counteract the stress of the new year
For many, the new year brings with it a chance to start afresh, but with new goals comes new stresses too. And what is more, the new year also kicks off with 'Janu-worry', the month that customers claim to feel the biggest pinch, and this goes for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) too. By the time February comes along, things start to improve, so it really is the best month to find one's stride. 9 Feb 2023 Read more

9 questions to ask to improve your chances of getting business finance
To anyone doubting the availability of finance for South African business owners, consider this: Business Partners Limited has provided business loans totalling R19.5bn in over 71,600 transactions with business owners since its start in 1981, totalling R19.5bn worth of finance. 17 Jan 2023 Read more

The year ahead: what will 2023 hold for South Africa's small businesses?
As the world continues to recover from the pandemic, our country's economic outlook remains lacklustre. For SMEs, the best way to prepare for the year ahead is to remain agile - be ready for "plan A" but keep "plan B" (and C) in your pocket so that viable alternatives remain close at hand should you need them. In short, SMEs are urged to buckle up for a bumpy ride. And as always, stay true to the reputation of the proudly South African brand of entrepreneurship, which has proven to be decidedly resilient. 16 Jan 2023 Read more

Responsible lending as a step up for SMEs
For many South African entrepreneurs, credit provides an effective way of financing an SME (small and medium enterprise) through its early stages or into its next phase of growth. But while traditional forms of credit may appear to be the intuitive "go-to" for small business owners, bank loans tend to be notoriously difficult to secure. 13 Jan 2023 Read more

Finish strong: 4 ways to prepare your small business for 2023
For many South African small businesses, 2022 has been a year of unprecedented change, as businesses and consumers adapt to life after the worst of Covid-19. 12 Jan 2023 Read more

Three of the biggest small business festive fails and how to avoid them
It has been predicted worldwide that this year's festive period will be a 'summer like no other'. It will be the first year in over two years where lockdown restrictions are completely lifted, and social gatherings are no longer discouraged in almost all countries around the world. For South Africans, the warmer weather has arrived, and shoppers are keen to embrace the outdoors. And of course, the festive season also means family time, which gives many an extra reason to shop. 9 Dec 2022 Read more

Practical ways SMEs in hospitality can navigate ongoing water restrictions
The water crisis that is currently affecting several parts of the country including Johannesburg and the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality will have an inevitable knock-on effect on small businesses whose operations rely heavily on the consistent supply of clean water. 7 Dec 2022 Read more

SMEs and credit scores: What to know about maintaining your business's creditworthiness
With Business Partners Limited's quarterly SME Index regularly listing funding as one of the key challenges faced by small business owners, most entrepreneurs will at some point most likely have to put in an application for small business funding or a line of credit. While you might be well aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with creditors in your personal capacity, it's important to know that a small business' credit score can be just as much of a 'make or break' factor when it comes to maintaining its financial viability in the long run. 7 Dec 2022 Read more

Loadshedding and SMEs: 3 ways to mitigate the impact of power cuts on your business
When the first scheduled blackouts were rolled out in 2007, it was believed to be a solution to a temporary problem especially when the country avoided loadshedding from 2009. More than a decade later and experts predict that loadshedding is going to be part of the South African socio-economic reality for far longer than anyone could have anticipated. 16 Nov 2022 Read more

Practical ways SMEs in hospitality can navigate ongoing water restrictions
The water crisis that is currently affecting several parts of the country including Johannesburg, Gqeberha and Nelson Mandela Bay municipality will have an inevitable knock-on effect on small businesses whose operations rely heavily on the consistent supply of clean water. 16 Nov 2022 Read more

3 effective ways for entrepreneurs to combat stress and prevent burnout
A number of studies and reports aired on popular media platforms continue to highlight the importance of issues such as workplace stress, the negative impact of long working hours and the prevalence of burnout amongst South African entrepreneurs. 16 Nov 2022 Read more

Advice for entrepreneurs: what you need to know about securing financing for commercial property
Several advantages make owning commercial or business property a viable prospect for small businesses. These include the benefit of asset appreciation, enjoying full control over interior design and renovations, security of tenure and avoiding above-inflation rent hikes. As a first port of call, small and medium enterprise (SME) owners need to be aware of the various steps in securing finance for commercial property and to be as prepared as possible to put forward a strong application. 16 Nov 2022 Read more

Lessons on building a local brand from the ground up
Before the onset of Covid-19, trend forecasters predicted that South Africa's pet care economy would soon outpace other emerging markets. No sooner had this trend taken root when the pandemic reached South African shores, catalysing a dramatic upsurge in pet ownership and giving the industry newfound impetus to the tune of R7bn in annual revenue. 16 Nov 2022 Read more

Black Friday fever: Here's how SMEs can leverage the hype
Black Friday - to be held on Friday, 25 November 2022 - has progressed over the past decade to take its place amongst the leading shopping events on the South African retail calendar. While Covid-19 put a dampener on consumer spend during 2020, sales rebounded the year after, with research by Payfast putting the average basket size at just over R1200. 16 Nov 2022 Read more

Loadshedding, petrol and interest rate hikes hit SME confidence levels
South African small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) confidence levels took a dip in second quarter of 2022. This is according to the recently released Q2 2022 SME Confidence Index conducted by specialist SME financier, Business Partners Ltd, which reveals that SME confidence that the South African economy will be conducive to business growth in the next 12 months declined during Q2 of 2022, a stark contrast to the first quarter. 26 Oct 2022 Read more

Expert advice on how to grow a family business in South Africa
Family businesses make up a significant portion of SMEs in South Africa. While statistical data on the contribution of family businesses to GDP is not widely available, their centrality to economic growth is illustrated by the fact that approximately 60% of companies listed on the JSE were founded or are currently run by family units. Despite a unique set of challenges, family-run businesses can take decisive steps towards triggering a positive and sustainable growth path. 25 Oct 2022 Read more

Tackling competition: What SMEs can learn from Amazon's imminent disruption of SA's marketplace
Leaked documents detailing the forthcoming launch of 'Project Fela' - a new marketplace with its own membership programme owned by Amazon - has prompted much industry speculation and debate around the role that competition plays in sector development. In this key example of the disruptive entry of an international player into the local market, lie valuable lessons for small businesses, particularly those who compete directly with large corporates, have aggressive growth strategies, or simply want to understand how to manage their competitors more effectively. 24 Oct 2022 Read more

3 small business ideas that exist within the SA transport industry value chain
October is Transport Month in South Africa - a time dedicated to raising awareness around road safety and the economic importance of the sector and looking at how local and global developments are driving change in the industry. 21 Oct 2022 Read more

SMEs encouraged to tap into trends that drive job creation and growth
In South Africa, small businesses serve as powerful engines of economic growth, job creation and societal innovation. With small and medium enterprises (SMEs) providing an estimated 60% of all employment opportunities in the country, their potential to provide social upliftment and development is unlimited. As policy makers, businesspeople and civil society put measures in place to work towards economic recovery, small business entrepreneurship must be at the centre of public discourse as one of the key opportunities to solve South Africa's most pressing economic and social challenges. 12 Oct 2022 Read more

3 super practical ways to combat stress and prevent burnout as an entrepreneur
A number of studies and reports aired on popular media platforms such as Carte Blanche continue to highlight the importance of issues such as workplace stress, the negative impact of long working hours and the prevalence of burnout amongst South African entrepreneurs. 11 Oct 2022 Read more

The 4 most common traits of successful entrepreneurs - with examples
From the outset it needs to be said that there simply is no formula for the 'perfect entrepreneur'. A writer for Business News Daily put it perfectly: "while no natural-born skill is a prerequisite (for becoming a successful entrepreneur), some characteristics are good predictors." 10 Oct 2022 Read more

The 3 most common mistakes SME owners can make and how to avoid them
While the entrepreneurial journey can be riveting and full of promise, entrepreneurs in any sector will inevitably encounter some challenges as they progress towards achieving their goals. 10 Oct 2022 Read more

4 tips to guide you on your way to becoming a successful entrepreneur
For some, the prospect of taking a risk and stepping out into the sometimes complex maze that is the South African SME sector, is too daunting. And for others, it is a golden opportunity that is not to be missed. If you fall into the latter category and are raring to go, consider these four ways to set yourself up for entrepreneurial success. 6 Oct 2022 Read more

A 4-point guide on what it takes to build a successful business on the African continent
Several economists have referred to Africa as the 'next global growth market.' A number of findings support this claim - according to the World Bank, six of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world are in African countries. Furthermore, over the past decade, Africa's GDP grew at twice the rate than the preceding two decades. 22 Sep 2022 Read more

4 signs you're ready to turn your side hustle into a formalised SME
The prospect of making the transition from a 'side hustler' to the owner of a fully-fledged business may have serious appeal, but it's important for entrepreneurs to resist the temptation to buy into romanticised notions of what it means to own your own business before you leap into the formal SME territory. 21 Sep 2022 Read more

How to make your business bloom
Five simple strategies for SMEs to attract more business in spring  20 Sep 2022 Read more

Challenges and solutions: How to support women entrepreneurs in South Africa
The plight of South African women who historically have faced economic exclusion, has been well-documented, and although much progress has been made by women entrepreneurs over the last decade, a number of challenges persist. As the public and private sectors work together towards the goal of building a more inclusive economy, their collective goal should encompass creating an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs. 8 Sep 2022 Read more

Make your business bloom: 5 simple strategies for SMEs to attract more business in spring
Historically, spring is a busy time for small businesses, who have an unmatched opportunity to capitalise on the energy and positivity of the warmer months. This spring will be particularly unique - it will be the first warm season in over two years that South Africans can enjoy without needing to adhere to Covid-19 restrictions. 6 Sep 2022 Read more

Registration, labour and tax: The most important compliance requirements for new small businesses
Apart from a small and medium enterprise (SME) owner's many responsibilities - maintaining healthy cashflow, maximising profitability, securing customers and hiring the right recruits, to name a few - there are also a number of legal parameters to consider. 26 Aug 2022 Read more

4 simple cashflow management strategies for small businesses
Cashflow ranks high amongst the top concerns for small businesses in South Africa. And because business comes down to rands and cents, balancing the inflow of revenue with the outflow of expenses, and ensuring that your business remains liquid enough to deal with unexpected events, can be a make-or-break factor. 25 Aug 2022 Read more

SA SME confidence levels rise in Q1:2022 signalling a better 2022, will recent loadshedding put a damper on this in Q2?
The confidence that South African small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners have that the South African economy will be conducive to business growth in the next 12 months is at its highest level in a decade. This is according to the Q1 2022 SME Index conducted by specialist SME financier, Business Partners Limited. 25 Aug 2022 Read more

3 changes to make to be a better SME leader
As the leader of a small and medium enterprise (SME), your responsibilities include providing your team with a sense of direction, setting an example, creating cohesiveness amongst employees and crafting a culture that supports, appreciates and nurtures people. 23 Aug 2022 Read more

Tax for small businesses: what you need to know as an SME owner
Understanding how South Africa's taxation system works for small businesses is an important part of being a successful entrepreneur. Various incentive schemes offered by the state in an attempt to support the SME sector can provide significant tax relief and help you save money. 23 Aug 2022 Read more

The 4 questions every entrepreneur should ask themselves before making their next big investment
Every entrepreneur will at some point in their journey find themselves at the daunting crossroads of whether or not to invest more money into initiating the next phase of their business' growth. 23 Aug 2022 Read more

Cybercrime on the rise in SA: How to protect your business, customers and employees
The plight of prominent corporates falling prey to cyberattacks continues to make headlines throughout the country. Large businesses, however, are not the only victims of cybercrime, with research by Accenture revealing that 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses. It is therefore imperative for South African small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to implement risk management measures to guard against the threat of cybercrime. 18 Aug 2022 Read more

Start your own business with the right foundation in place to ensure sustainability
Aspiring entrepreneurs urged to enter business plan competition. 17 Aug 2022 Read more

Nurturing a savings culture critical to the success of SMEs
South African small businesses are caught in several socioeconomic crosswinds - record-high petrol prices, electricity load shedding, and significant inflationary pressures. In the wake of the pandemic, what has become clear is that a small and medium enterprise's (SME) savings culture (or lack thereof) can dictate its ability to survive economic hardship. While much focus is placed on the importance of personal saving, SME owners also need to be encouraged to develop healthy saving habits within their businesses. 16 Aug 2022 Read more

Green building: A golden opportunity for South African SMEs
The demand for 'green', or environmentally sound buildings has been driven strongly by the global shift towards sustainable development as well as various push and pull factors. Unstable power supply and the opportunity to save on utilities are just two of the reasons businesses are planning to go green, however, the core issue of a high-cost outlay on these ventures remains. 15 Aug 2022 Read more

Three low-investment business ideas for first-time South African women entrepreneurs
Despite a number of unique challenges, increasingly women are making their mark in South Africa's competitive small business arena. And the fact that sub-Saharan Africa currently has the highest growth rate in female-run businesses in the world, is exciting news for future entrepreneurs. 12 Aug 2022 Read more