If South Africa is to achieve the goal of 90% of employment opportunities being created by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by 2030, marginalised communities must be empowered and big business needs to open the door to partnerships with emerging business, say local business experts.
Speaking ahead of the upcoming #BuyaBusiness expo and Small Business Expo, business experts say the SME sector presents strong growth opportunities, but that support is needed to ensure these new businesses are sustainable.
Xhanti Payi, head of research at Nascence Advisory and Research, who works with the Eskom Development Foundation to develop entrepreneurs, says it is in the interests of SMEs, big business and communities to support fledgling entrepreneurs. “In a thriving economy, everyone wins. And helping small businesses to their feet is key to developing a thriving economy.” Helping address unemployment and develop new small business should not be seen as a charitable or CSI move, however, but rather as a win-win proposition that helps diversify the big business supplier base and build the economy to the benefit of all. “For example, if the large retailer was prepared to give the potato farmer a chance, and help fund his ability to delivery by paying a percentage of the purchase price upfront; the retailer would both empower the farmer and be in a position to negotiate a discount on the stock it buys.”
He points out that in addition to the hurdle of securing funding, rural and township entrepreneurs who lack conventional ‘business polish’ are at a major disadvantage in negotiations with big business. “Say for example, that a rural potato farmer wants to become a supplier to a retailer – how does he access the right networks of people, how does he negotiate?”
Payi says the Eskom Development Foundation, through its various small business development programmes and Business Investment Competition, makes a significant contribution towards stimulating economic development and job creation.
“We see many young people with great ideas and high levels of enthusiasm – we aim to help them turn this into bankable business plans they can execute. By helping young entrepreneurs learn vital business, communications and marketing skills and access valuable business networks, we are making a visible difference to communities,” Payi explains.
Finalists of Eskom’s Business Investment Competition have the opportunity to exhibit their businesses at the Small Business Expo at the TicketPro Dome next month.
Franchising – big opportunities for the right investors
Big brand franchises, particularly in FMCG retail and fuel, offer a lower-risk and potentially lucrative entry to business for many, says Kobus Oosthuizen, CEO of the SA Franchise Warehouse.
However, he notes that relevant experience is crucial for the entrepreneur considering buying a franchise: “You have to have hands-on experience in the sector you want to operate in. With the right experience and attitude, securing funding to buy a franchise and approval from the franchisor becomes much easier.”
Oosthuizen says the SA Franchise Warehouse works with many would-be franchise owners to help them assess their suitability for franchise ownership and prepare them for the realities of life as a franchise owner. “This is not an opportunity for someone who is already in a well-paid job and simply looking to escape from the 9 to 5 grind.” Although becoming a franchisee, provides a useful start to any aspirant business owner, true entrepreneurs are not ultimately suited to franchise ownership either, he says. “True entrepreneurs want to do their own thing. Within a franchise, there are rules and procedures laid out in order to help the business to succeed. The price you pay for this lower-risk entry to business ownership is that there is little room to innovate.” Franchise ownership is, however, ideal for those who have extensive bottom-up experience in the chosen sector, who are prepared to work long hours, and who accept that they will be last in the salary payment chain.
The SA Franchise Warehouse will unpack the facts around franchise ownership and help would-be franchise owners determine if franchises are suited to them, during a series of full-day workshops at the upcoming #BuyaBusiness expo at the TicketPro Dome in Johannesburg. For more information about the Full On Franchising Theatre Workshops, go to http://www.thebereed.co.za/buyabusinessexpo/full-on-franchising-2/
The #BuyaBusiness Expo offers one-stop business opportunities, franchise opportunities, business tools, information and networking for anyone considering starting their own business or franchise, and for those already in business and looking to expand.
The Small Business Expo, proudly supported by Eskom is devoted to the development and growth of small and medium enterprises by providing an opportunity for them to market themselves and interact with corporates, investors and buyers. The expos will be staged at the Ticketpro Dome in Northriding Johannesburg from the 8th -10th September 2016. Entrance is free if you register online. Visit www.buyabusinessexpo.co.za