In an effort to grow and foster the local economy and develop business within South Africa, Business Partners Limited has earmarked more than R1 billion for the advancement of SMEs within the region for the upcoming 2013/2014 year.
According to Christo Botes, executive director at Business Partners Limited, the company’s main objective in 2013 is to develop the SME sector by financing SME undertakings and providing business infrastructure, advice and after-care service.
“Despite the challenging economic environment, we are finding that South African SMEs are still growing and that there is still an appetite for SME finance. For this reason we are aiming achieve finance approvals of over 1 billion over the financial year.”
Shift in investment strategy
Botes says that in 2013, a major focus will be placed on its latest development, a venture capital fund for entrepreneurs with businesses, concepts, products or services with high-growth potential. “Our R400 million Venture Fund, launched late last year, is testimony to our belief in the potential of the South African community of entrepreneurs, despite the difficult times we may be facing.”
High growth SMEs targeted
The company is also looking to boost both its profits and development impact by investing in high growth businesses with high job growth potential in the technology, bio-technology, renewable energy and agro-processing sectors.
“We currently see a great deal of growth opportunity for SMEs within these sectors. These sectors are growing at a rapid rate in South Africa and the opportunities for businesses active in, or servicing, these sectors are vast. We aim to enable SMEs in these sectors to gear up, in order to take advantage of future economic opportunities.
“We predict that specialist businesses in fast-changing industries such as IT and communications will still have many opportunities to pursue. The dynamism in these industries will also ensure constant growth for innovative players.”
Africa a good prospect for SMEs
He says that the rest of the African continent is also providing opportunities for SMEs. “The rest of Africa, with its consistent growth of more than 5% over the last few years, is opening up to South African businesses like never before. Every local service provider hired, or every supermarket that a South African retail chain opens north of the Limpopo, provides opportunities for supply chains back home.”