SMEs Prepare for Their ‘Big Break’

SMEs Prepare for Their ‘Big Break’


MTN Business has announced its sponsorship of the upcoming television reality show ‘The Big Break Legacy’, which seeks to find the country’s top entrepreneurs and help them develop their businesses. Contestants on The Big Break stand to win prizes worth R5 million.

“Today’s global brands all had a humble beginning,” says Ezra Ndwandwe, chairman and founder of The Big Break Legacy, a concept designed to encourage entrepreneurship in South Africa on a massive scale. Like many entrepreneurial ventures, Ndwandwe says the show went through an evolutionary process on the journey to what it represents today.

“Through this journey, a team of individuals and businesses, who share the same passion for entrepreneurship, came together to make The Big Break Legacy a reality,” says Ndwandwe.

These sponsors include MTN, DTI, BMW and Massmart. Says Nomalanga Nkosi, business segments general manager: MTN Business: “For MTN Business this is not just a sponsorship, it’s a philosophy. The Big Break Legacy represents opportunity, inspiration and more importantly recognises fledging entrepreneurs from South Africans that have determination, gusto and a can-do attitude.” Nkosi adds that entrepreneurship is more than just the mere creation of a business – it’s about vision, innovation, hard work and the realisation of a dream.

Growing the SME sector

“Our partners, while clearly coming from very different economic sectors, all have in common an understanding of entrepreneurship and the role it plays in strengthening our economy,” says Ndwandwe.

He says the South African small business sector is structurally punitive to budding entrepreneurs, a factor which accounts for low levels of entrepreneurship in South Africa. “We have to build an environment that says to entrepreneurs, ‘it’s okay to fail, but do it with purpose and resolve’,” he adds.

“MTN Business understands the complexities of running a small business and feel that it is important that more corporate businesses move towards a model and mindset of growing the SME sector and mobilising the small business community, by not only providing cost effective and innovative solutions, but also supporting proudly South African initiatives such as The Big Break Legacy,” says Nkosi.

There are an estimated 1.5 million SMEs in South Africa and the sector contributes significantly towards the country’s economic development. However, the growth of the sector has been hampered by a high failure rate, especially during the start-up phase.

Nkosi reasons that this could be partly attributable to little corporate support and sharing of valuable business insight with this market. This however is rapidly changing; corporate mindsets are shifting and businesses are focusing on building sustainable SMEs and igniting a culture of entrepreneurship.

“MTN Business is committed to real continent advancement, believing that SMEs are indispensable contributors to the future viability of South Africa, and we passionately believe in and drive this entrepreneurial support at every part of our corporate influence and direction. We are certainly proud to bring together such a diverse group of people to share experiences, visions and advice – all which plays a crucial role in the innovations that lead to technological change, productivity growth and economic viability,” concludes Nkosi.

“I am excited to see that our partners, representing some of the world’s most respected brands, are eager to throw their weight behind a venture of this kind which will clearly have an impact both on  South Africa’s social as well as its economic landscape,” adds Ndwandwe.

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