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Mentoring Crucial To SMEs Job-Creation Role

By 2030, the NDP aims to have SMEs creating 90% of new employment opportunities. To achieve that target, support and mentoring of established SMEs may be more effective than financing massive numbers of new start-ups.

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The 2015 annual SME Insight Survey commissioned by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) yielded a number of findings that the institute believes can assist policymakers in government, NGOs and business as they seek to encourage growth in the SME sector.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been prioritised by the National Development Plan (NDP) as engines of job creation, with a rapidly growing small business environment seen as the only viable solution to mass unemployment.

By 2030, the NDP aims to ensure that 90% of new jobs will have been created by SMEs. Last year’s survey attracted more than 1 300 responses from business owners, and SAICA have launched their 2016 version – designed to help policy makers create an enabling environment for SMEs to thrive and to create employment. SMEs are encouraged to give up 20 mins of their time and to participate [2016 SME Survey].

Related: Results Of SA’s Largest Start-up Survey

One of the findings highlighted in the 2015 SME Insight Survey Report is the number of entrepreneurs who start multiple businesses. Of those surveyed, 61% have started at least two companies, with more than a third starting three or more, and 3% starting ten or more.

Number of businesses SMEs started survey

The research also shows that the SMEs with the highest turnover are generally those that have been in business for five years or more, and that the number of staff an SME employs increases sharply with turnover. Two conclusions can be drawn from this information: Firstly, that once the entrepreneurial bug has bitten, SME owners have a tendency to start more businesses and provide more jobs.

Secondly, and most importantly for the purposes of job creation, SMEs can only become major drivers of employment over time, providing they see sustained growth in turnover.

Funding start-ups that fail within two years – and as many as 63% do – cannot be the primary way to turn SMEs into an urgent and effective solution for unemployment.

Support and mentoring of SMEs crucial

Business Partners Limited, the biggest private funder of SMEs in South Africa and one of the most successful of its type in the world, has long believed that one of the most effective forms of risk-mitigation when lending to SMEs is to ensure mentorship and support in areas of business that many entrepreneurs are initially unaware of.

SMEs need advice about setting up and managing systems in their businesses; including people management, VAT returns, sales, bookkeeping and cash-flow forecasting, because many entrepreneurs are unaware of where to find help in building these systems, they simply focus on production and neglect the other aspects of running a successful business. General knowledge and business skills mean the difference between survival and business failure. This is why young entrepreneurs should continually tap into older entrepreneurs’ knowledge and experience.

In 2015 government allocated a new budget of R3.5-billion to support and mentoring of SMEs through the Department of Small Business. However, it is clear that the majority of this funding is to be spent in support of micro-enterprises, which are typically one-person operations. Whether it is a doctor opening a solo practice or a merchant starting a spaza shop, the primary focus of the micro-business owner is to support themselves and their families, not to create jobs for others.

While mentoring and support for micro-businesses is of course important; they face the same challenges as larger firms, and need the same guidance if they are to survive and grow, they are not and will never be significant drivers of employment. Government has in 2016 announced its intention of raising a R10bn fund to finance SMMEs. Detail is still short but one hopes, for the sake of the unemployed that this funding will be aimed at growing and grooming the SMEs that have weathered the first two year storm, and are capable of growth and significant employment.

Related: EOH 702 Youth Job Creation Challenge

Established SMEs are better job-creation engines

The findings of the 2015 SME Insight Survey suggest that it would be more cost-effective for government, NGOs and private funders to focus more on mentoring and supporting existing SMEs, especially those that have cleared the “two-year failure rate” hurdle.

SAICA, for example, runs a project that offers mentoring and advice to SMEs on issues such as budgeting, bookkeeping and cash forecasting, provided by qualified Chartered Accountants (South Africa) [CAs(SA)] who have graduated and completed their training, but have not yet found full-time employment. This allows the CAs(SA) to gain more real-world business experience, while at the same time demonstrating to SME owners the value of consulting a CA(SA) for business advice or mentorship.

The survey findings, in conclusion, suggest that those who counsel SME funding as an investment in creating more employment opportunities will see the best return on that investment by channelling it into established SMEs. Providing mentoring and advice to these businesses will allow them to grow and thus increase their staff complements; a vital prerequisite if SMEs are going to help make a significant dent in unemployment by 2030.

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

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Top 22 Start-ups Chosen For Final Selection Days – Startupbootcamp Africa

After receiving 1,004 applications from all over the world, the SBC team in conjunction with the programme’s corporate sponsors have narrowed the applicants down to 22 top-tier tech start-ups that will be invited to the Final Selection Days on July 11th and 12th at PwC’s headquarters in Cape Town.

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SBC Africa received 1,004 total applications from 77 countries on 5 continents. The start-ups that applied were exceptionally impressive and have gained more traction in the market than the applicants for the 2017 cohort. The talent in Africa is phenomenal and the corporate sponsors and SBC team dedicated 2 weeks to narrow it down to the Top 22 to be invited to Final Selection Days.

“It’s been an intense process due to the exceptionally high calibre of start-ups applying to the programme from across the continent,” states Philip Kiracofe, co-founder and CEO of Startupbootcamp Africa. “From 1,004 applications we have managed to narrow down to 22 of the most creative teams tackling daunting African problems. One of the key differentiators for start-ups that participate in the SBC Accelerator is the opportunity to secure commercial contracts with our sponsors. In order to make it onto our Top 22, each start-up has been chosen by at least 2 sponsors for potential proof of concept projects. The 2018 cohort is already shaping up to be a milestone moment for Africa.”

Related: How to Name (Or In Some Cases, Rename) Your Company

Zachariah George, co-founder and Chief Investment Officer of Startupbootcamp Africa added, “The investment community across Africa is taking note of the significant traction and access to market that being an alumni of a global accelerator programme like ours provides. We are excited to further galvanize venture capital funding into tech startups through significant de-risking of business models and customer validation with our corporate partners globally.”

From the 22 teams that have been invited to the SBC Africa Final Selection Days, 10 will be selected to join the 2018 cohort. Over the span of the two Final Selection Days, the startups in attendance will have the opportunity to present their pitches to high-profile corporate sponsors, investors, thought leaders and industry experts and will have the chance to sit down with mentors and sponsors alike. At the end of Day Two, the Top 10 will be announced and will be welcomed to the Cape Town-based Accelerator that kicks off in August. During the 3-month period, they will have the opportunity to scale at an incredible pace and seal pilot and proof of concept deals with the corporate sponsors to the programme.

The SBC Africa Accelerator is anchored and endorsed by heavyweight corporate sponsors RCS, BNP Paribas Personal Finance, Nedbank, Old Mutual and PwC.

“We’ve seen an increase in the quality of start-ups applying to the programme. The awareness of the value of the programme has increased and the success of the first year of the bootcamp speaks for itself. More mature start-ups are also seeing the benefits of participating in Startupbootcamp Africa,” comments Stanley Gabriel, Head of Innovation at Old Mutual.

The Top 22 start-ups invited to the Final Selection Days come from 7 different countries. The numbers are as follows: 8 from Nigeria, 5 from South Africa, 3 from Uganda, 2 from the Ivory Coast, 2 from Kenya, 1 from Ghana and 1 from Ireland.

Related: Entrepreneurship Is All About Overcoming Obstacles

The names of the start-ups invited to Final Selection Days by country:

  • Nigeria: Bankly Technologies, Biyabot, CredPal, FriendsVow, Kudimoney Bank, Medikal HMS, NebulaPay, and ZEEZZ Planet Solutions.
  • South Africa: Brandbookalytics Big Data, ifileme, LÜLA, Prospa, and Akiba Digital
  • Uganda: CoinPesa Ltd, RoundBob Uganda, and Swipe 2 Pay
  • Ivory Coast: Digitech Group, and DISTRICASH
  • Kenya: Kakbima, and MPost
  • Ghana: Inclusive Financial Technologies
  • Ireland: Pago Payments

It has been an incredible 3-month scouting journey for SBC Africa and now that the Top 22 have been announced, the Final Selection Days is the only hurdle left before the Accelerator officially kicks off on 13 August 2018.

There are high expectations for the Top 10 of 2018 and if the quality of the start-ups at this stage is any indication, 2018 is set to be a great success for the African tech and innovation ecosystem.

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She Works Hard For Her Money – So Pay Her On Time

Sage research finds that female entrepreneurs suffer more negative effects from late payments than men. Charles Pittaway, Managing Director of Sage Pay, comments on the importance of equal pay for equal work.

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Women fight inequality and discrimination every day. They fight for equal pay for equal work. They challenge gender stereotypes in their careers and personal lives. They question unfair social and political norms. They unify under passionate causes, evidenced recently by the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns.

With female business builders making up nearly 40% of the global workforce – and heading up 72% of micro-enterprises and 40% of small enterprises in South Africa – any kind of discrimination is unacceptable from a cultural and economic point of view, especially when it involves failure to pay what is owed.

The impact of late payments on small businesses has been widely discussed as an issue that must be eradicated for all entrepreneurs, regardless of gender. But inequality still exists and more needs to be done to eradicate it.

Recent research by Sage highlights that this discrimination doesn’t just impact women in large corporates. Indeed, it identified a worrying trend: female entrepreneurs are more likely to suffer from late payments than their male counterparts.

South Africa was among the six regions (out of 11) surveyed by Sage that reported higher instances of women business builders being paid late. Businesses run by female entrepreneurs in South Africa report that 18% of invoices are paid late and 10% of invoices are written off as bad debt.

Small businesses cannot absorb these costs nor the lost hours spent on admin – amounting to R564 000 in South Africa. The result can be disastrous: in the next 12 months, 1 in 4 female entrepreneurs will prioritise chasing late payments to be more cost efficient, and ironically will become less productive. If these businesses are not paid on time, they will also struggle to pay bonuses and suppliers, and will be forced to delay investments in their businesses.

Related: Watch List: 50 Black African Women Entrepreneurs To Watch

The fact that late or non-payments is a more common occurrence experienced by female entrepreneurs is part of a wider problem. Women report more instances of sexist comments, disregard for their business ambitions and lack of female mentors as significant underlying reasons why there is now a heightened cultural stigma around chasing late payments amongst female entrepreneurs – more so than men.

In South Africa, the stigma extends past culture, with 40% of Small & Medium Businesses failing to follow up on late payments to protect client relationships. Time and resources are also challenges, with 24% of small businesses saying they don’t have a dedicated resource to chase payments and 13% saying they don’t have time.

There is no place for bias in business – all entrepreneurs should be free to pursue their ambitions without suffering the consequences of these cultural barriers that are encountered far too often – regardless of gender.

Now is the time to disrupt and challenge these harmful stereotypes and create a force for good, making sure that small businesses – the engine room of all economies – are paid what they are duly owed for the services they deliver to our economy.

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#RiseToTheChallenge Now By Visiting The SleepOut™ Movement

The SleepOut™ Movement was born out of a desire to address homelessness as a threat to human dignity and the realisation of fundamental human rights. The SleepOut™ Movement is underpinned by the philosophies of Social Innovation and Engaging Business ‘As A Force for Change’.

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Primary Beneficiaries appointed by The CEO Sleepout Trust™ for 2018 are Liliesleaf Farm and Museum and The Qunu Food Security Project. These Primary Beneficiaries will be awarded a portion of funds raised from a series of The SleepOut™ Movement Events taking place during July this year honouring the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birthday. Donations by the Trust to Primary Beneficiaries from previous years’ events amounted to an impressive R38-Million.

“Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day dreaming, but vision with action can change the world!”, Nelson Mandela.

The SleepOut™ Movement brings together Businesses and Influencers to purposely and effectively address the Five Pillars that alleviate homelessness: Shelter, Nutrition, Healthcare, Education, and Community. Curated by social enterprise The Philanthropic Collection, whose mission is Creating Conscious Capital, The SleepOut™ Movement aims to spearhead innovation in philanthropy by moving beyond current practices and beliefs, employing business strategies to do good for others.

The SleepOut™ Movement’s mission in 2018 is embodied by its Special Chapters, The Nelson Mandela CEO SleepOut™ – Liliesleaf Edition and The Nelson Mandela Legacy SleepOut™ – Robben Island Edition.

Related: The Kindling Of The Entrepreneur Spirit

On Wednesday 11 July 2018, The Nelson Mandela CEO SleepOut™ – Liliesleaf Edition, aims to host 200 CEOs (each with four distinguished guests whom embody Madiba’s leadership and humanitarian qualities) as they #RiseToTheChallenge, spending a winter’s night at the iconic Liliesleaf Farm and Museum in Rivonia, Johannesburg.  In addition, an auction will be opened to participating CEO’s for Madiba’s outside bedroom at Liliesleaf where he, Madiba, spent countless hours writing, reading and reflecting. Opening bids start at R250 000.00 with an overall goal of raising R30-Million.

On Wednesday 18 July 2018 and what would have been Madiba’s 100th birthday, 67 Global Influencers, Business leaders and Celebrities will spend the night on Robben Island, inside the maximum-security prison and courtyard where Mandela spent 18 years. On this same night, an auction will be held for the highest bidder commencing at $250 00.00 to sleep inside Cell Number 7 – Madiba’s home during his imprisonment. The aim is to raise $6,7 million through our 67 Participants at a Pledge of $100,000.00 each.

As a Primary Beneficiary focused on Community Upliftment, Education and Nutrition, the Qunu Food Security Project is operated by Dr. Brylyne Chitsunge, Pan African Ambassador for Food Security, who stated, “Through the funds generated as a Primary Beneficiary of The SleepOut™ Movement our plan is to develop a platform for Agricultural Stakeholders to work with 250 members of the Qunu community on Mandela’s farm ensuring the development of agriculture and commercial farming within More/….2

South Africa. The funds received will determine how many farmers are trained, the amount of product supplied and the number of bursaries that can be awarded to Scholars wanting to study Agriculture”.

Beneficiaries/….2

The second of the 2 Primary Beneficiaries is Liliesleaf Farm & Museum, once the nerve centre of the liberation movement and a place of refuge for its leaders, and is today one of South Africa’s foremost, award-winning heritage sites, where the journey to democracy in South Africa is honoured.    

Recognised as one of South Africa’s leading heritage sites, Liliesleaf opened to the public in June 2008 and has since attracted thousands of local and international visitors, eager to understand and engage with a pivotal period in South Africa’s liberation struggle. Sir Nicolas Wolpe, CEO of Liliesleaf Trust, states, “We are honoured to have not only been chosen as the venue for The CEO SleepOut™ but also as one of the Primary Beneficiaries of The SleepOut™ Movement enabling us to continue our work in preserving our heritage as an important symbolic presence of our country’s struggle and through our educational programmes we continue to inspire younger audiences to face the challenges of today”.

Related: How To Develop A Unique Brand Name In A Global Marketplace And Protect It

In addition to the Primary Beneficiaries The SleepOut™ Movement benefits a number of Secondary as well as Satellite Beneficiaries, with the funds raised through the 2 auctions taking place at Liliesleaf and on Robben Island benefitting the Prison-to-College Pipeline SA developed through a partnership between Stellenbosch University and the South African Department of Correctional Services & Western Cape Community Organisations aimed at integrating them back into their communities.

#RiseToTheChallenge now by visiting The SleepOut™ Movement – https://theceosleepoutza.co.za

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