According to the organisers of the conference, the event’s theme was selected in response to the prevailing restrictive economic climate and the threat that it poses to entrepreneurs and their businesses.
The thinking underpinning SME South Africa’s Growth Champions conferences is that different stakeholders must provide initiatives that transform South African SMEs into productive and profitable entities. SME South Africa plays its part through the provision of knowledge that facilitates growth.
Why is there such an imperative? This is because, according to statistics, SMEs are a key driver of the SA economy as they:
- Constitute 91% of all formalised businesses in South Africa.
- Employ over 60% of the total workforce.
- Contribute over 57% of the total GDP.
Their success thus ensures the economic livelihood of the nation.
The successful conference, which attracted over 100 entrepreneurs from a cross-section of industries, sought to show the attendees how they could produce excellent business results through data-driven planning and the utilisation of right methodologies that are driven by empirical knowledge.
Judging by the feedback from the entrepreneurs themselves, this objective was definitely achieved. Below is the line up of the speakers and their topics:
- People – Claresa Pretorius (GM: Quest Staffing Solutions)
- Planning & Process – Rick Ed (Owner/Business Coach: Do Better Business)
- Product & Profit – Mohale Ralebitso (Founder/Chairman: Itataise)
- Key Business Drivers of Growth – Andre Joubert (GM: SMB Neotel)
- Current Business Online Marketing Methods – Velly Bosega (Founder/CEO: Adclick Africa)
- Business Leadership – Jenny Retief (CEO: Riversands Incubation Hub)
- SA Domains – Vika Mpisane (CEO: ZA Domain Name Authority)
- Marketing Platform Solutions – Nthabi Mokgosi (Product Specialist: Digital Reach)
*The SME South Africa Growth Champions Conference presentations are available for download here.
“This conference has really opened my eyes especially in the areas of planning and digital marketing. I especially enjoyed the Digital Reach presentation which enlightened me on what I have to do in order for my business to have a compelling online presence,” said Lebogang Khumalo, a female entrepreneur from Pretoria.
The dynamic and robust interactions that took place between the presenters and attendees reveal that entrepreneurs are hungry for knowledge that empowers and inspires them to scale great heights in their line of business.
“Knowledge is power and we deliberately select topics that we know answer the real and pressing needs of most entrepreneurs in South Africa. Even our speaker line-up attests to this. We always strive to be a trustworthy and relevant partner of SMEs in South Africa,” remarked Velly Bosega, the CEO of Adclick Africa Media Group.
Indeed, SMEs need all the help they can get if they are to excel and do more. However, knowledge is the right instrument for growth as the famous saying goes: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day. Teach him how to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime."
Discussions on SME issues are still continuing via SME South Africa’s Twitter account, @SMESouthAfrica. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to post their questions, remarks and observations.