The South African government has made great strides in supporting Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and local entrepreneurs. In the 2018 Budget speech, it outlined various initiatives which not only look to provide much-needed funding, but also open the public procurement process. All this in aid to remedy the country’s 26.7% unemployment rate.
Tashline Jooste, the Chief Executive Officer of the Innovator Trust, believes that to truly support the successful incubation of local SMMEs and entrepreneurs, corporates based in South Africa need to lend a helping hand.
“Supporting SMMEs into becoming thriving organisations is key to solving many of the economic ills that continue to hamper this country. We need corporate South Africa to make a concerted effort to support SMMEs and entrepreneurs,” she explains.
According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) survey, there are many challenges facing emerging businesses in the country, however the main three are access to markets, funding and revenue generation.
“Of the three main challenges, access to markets is by far the greatest barrier. If you think about it, you could have all the skills in the world and have a brilliant business model, product, etc. however, all to no avail, if you don’t have access to markets,” stresses Jooste.
Furthermore, a study by Schoeman Law, indicated that a reason behind this is a general risk aversion mind-set among South Africans and corporates when it comes to investing in a start-up run by a young entrepreneur.
“There definitely needs to be a change in mind-set in South Africa. How are we going to nurture successful young entrepreneurs if there isn’t an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to work with large companies? At the moment, especially during a tough trading environment, larger companies are more likely to opt for trusted vendors,” she says.
Jooste clarifies that this in itself, has a knock-on effect. “Simply put, young entrepreneurs need contracts and assistance with those contracts in order to deliver a succinct product of excellent quality and service. This harnesses growth leading to employment,” she explains.To help young local entrepreneurs, Jooste is calling on corporate South Africa to work alongside entrepreneur incubators and help to develop successful candidates. A true win-win situation for South Africa!