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SME Survey: Day Zero Warning Hits SMEs Hard

SME Survey is the original and largest representative survey since 2003 to measure the forces shaping SME competitiveness in South Africa.

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Running a small business goes hand-in-hand with being kept awake at night, worrying about big issues and their consequences on the market and business operations. However, the biggest challenges tend to be magnified by the messages in the media. Rarely has this been as dramatic as in small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners’ reactions to the announcement of ‘Day Zero’ in Cape Town, according to a research report released today.

The SME Survey 2018 shows that before the December holidays, just 8% of SMEs indicated that they were concerned about water shortages. But when the Survey resumed after the holidays, and in the wake of the announcement by the Cape Town city council that taps would actually run dry on a specific date, SME anxiety around the severe lack of water jumped to 44%. It was clear that the announcement sent a massive shock through the South African business world.

Related: 5 Things SME’s Need To Be Thinking About In 2018

Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx and principal analyst of SME Survey, says, “It is quite astonishing to note the difference between the point when everyone knew there was a drought and the actual drawing of a line in the sand by local authorities in announcing a date when water would run out. This clearly had a massive impact on SME owners’ equanimity. Obviously, when looked at regionally, water shortage fears are less prominent in provinces like Gauteng (15%) and KwaZulu-Natal (9%), but it leaped to 71% in the Western Cape, raising the national average significantly.

“While it has become clear over the years that regional factors do affect SMEs, the biggest concerns about the broader business environment are structural. This is why, in the past, we have – for example – seen concerns raised around construction for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which caused massive traffic disruption, as well huge anxiety about load shedding a decade ago. While predominantly a regional issue, we can say that water shortages are the load shedding of 2018.”

The number one concern for small business decision-makers, in the broader business environment, is still the competition (46%), closely followed by water shortages. The third biggest fear, one which has dropped significantly from previous iterations of the Survey, was crime, which only 16% of SMEs noted keeps them awake at night.

“In the same vein, fraud and corruption also feature, but not as heavily as one might expect”, says Goldstuck. He points out that only 11% of SMEs said they were kept awake by corruption, while just 8% were concerned about fraud.

“On the other hand, when asked if they were aware of corruption in their particular industry, one in four – 25% – stated that they were. However, only 10% claimed to have had to deal with it directly.”

Related: 9 Different Kinds Of SME Funding

“It is also worth noting the difference in perceptions prior to the ANC Elective Conference in December and those post-conference. Prior to the conference, 23% of SMEs stated they were aware of corruption in their sector, while 28% said they were aware of it post-conference. This could be attributed to the large-scale unravelling of state capture that has occurred since the beginning of 2018. A similar, but positive, trend was seen with corruption keeping them awake at night: pre-conference, 14% were worried about corruption, but after Cyril Ramaphosa was elected ANC president, the level of concern dropped to just 7%.”

Goldstuck adds that a similar path can be traced for fears about fraud, with 11% being kept awake by this concern before the elective conference, while only 5% named it as a worry in 2018. There can be no doubt, he states, that these results again demonstrate the importance of media coverage around, and exposure of, corruption and fraud.

“Of course, there are also internal fears that keep SME owners awake at night, and the number one concern about their businesses remains cash flow, with 39% of respondents anxious about this issue. A close second is the headache related to finding the right staff (34%).

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Leaderex Drives Digital Transformation Agenda For 2018 Summit

Leaderex, Africa’s largest gathering of business leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs, returns to Johannesburg on 4 September 2018.

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Building on a successful debut in 2015, the organisers, Leader.co.za, in association with the JSE and leading think tanks, will host 250 masterclasses on key priority areas to drive digital transformation, including agile leadership, innovation, fintech and blockchain, AI, IoT, ecommerce and the future of work.

“Our programme has been designed around peer-based learning, allowing participants to gain practical knowledge from the trenches, engage with the best in the business, and thrive in a disrupted world,” says Leader.co.za.

Over five hundred CEOs and industry leaders will share actionable insights and advice on the day, representing one of the largest collaborations of its kind in the country.

Delegates will have the opportunity to connect with incubators, accelerators and start-up platforms, explore MBA programmes and business schools, and participate in one-on-one sessions with respected coaches and consultants.

South Africa’s lack of a savings culture will be another talking point, and investment vehicles, from tax-free savings to ETFs, will be thoroughly unpacked.

“We are pleased to be working with Leaderex again this year because we have seen the impact that the event has had since inception,” adds Mpho Ledwaba, Head of Marketing at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

For executives and entrepreneurs looking to unlock value through new technologies and ways of thinking, Leaderex 2018 represents a highlight on the business calendar.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.leaderex.com.

Read next: 22 Qualities That Make A Great Leader

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(Infographic) Chevron South Africa Says Its B-BBEE Transformation Is A Driver Of Job Creation

Creating new Black entrants for 50% of its retail network; and channeling approximately 50% of its crude procurement through Black and Black Female-owned oil trading companies are just two great examples of how an integrated oil company can support South Africa’s socio-economic transformation objectives.

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  • 82% of the workforce are Black South Africans with 65% of top and senior management comprising of Black employees
  • Procurement, a major driver of B-BBEE strategy, aimed at creating entrepreneurs
  • Majority Black-owned Branded Marketers own 50% of Chevron’s Retail Network
  • R100 million provided towards Enterprise and Supplier Development.

Chevron South Africa’s executive chairman, Shashi Rabbipal, is strongly in favour of transformation in the oil and gas sector as a driver of job creation and value for the company and its various stakeholders.

According to Rabbipal, the company views transformation as a key value enabler for business, achieving a newly minted Level 2 against the revised Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Codes of Good Practice.

Rabbipal outlined that the company has harnessed its procurement capacity and its Branded Marketer network to create an environment where entrepreneurship can thrive in the energy sector.

The company said that creating new Black entrants for 50% of its retail network and channeling approximately 50% of its crude procurement through Black and Black Female-owned oil trading companies are two great examples of how an integrated oil company can support South Africa’s socio-economic transformation objectives.

Chevron South Africa’s Level 2 achievement is most impressive, given that it is based on the company’s full value chain which includes its Cape Town refinery and its national network of Caltex retail service stations.

Related: What Is BBBEE?

Transformation embedded in business strategy

“Our commitment to Transformation goes beyond compliance as we continue to seek opportunities which drive job creation and economic prosperity, cultivate mutually beneficial business relationships and demonstrate good business practice,” said Rabbipal.

The following examples illustrate actions Chevron South Africa has taken to deliver on the country’s Transformation objectives:

  • 82% of the workforce is Black, with 27% Black Female.
  • 90% of the Board Directors are Black South Africans, with 30% Black Females.
  • A flagship programme building capacity for Black unemployed youth living with disabilities has been implemented, with an intake of 66 learners to date.
  • 90% of procurement is with Black suppliers.
  • Approximately 50% of procured crude oil and petroleum products is through Black-empowered trading companies, of which roughly 35% are Black women-owned.
  • An Enterprise and Supplier Development programme has provided over R100 million in interest-free loans, credit lines and deferred marketing loans to designated B-BBEE beneficiaries within the procurement pipeline.
  • 50% of the retail network is owned by Black entrepreneurs through the Caltex Branded Marketer Programme, with average Black ownership of 73%.
  • Social investment partnerships impacting 50,000 direct beneficiaries each year in the areas of health, STEM education and economic development.

“We conduct business in a socially responsible and ethical manner, leveraging our ability to benefit the communities where we work. As such, Transformation is more than a scorecard to us and is deeply embedded in our business strategy,” Rabbipal concludes.

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Blu Blood’s Fearless Leader Ranked Among 2018 Standard Bank Top Women Award Finalists

Having pioneered leading lifestyle and event management company, Blu Blood, in 2008, Shaaista Khan Osman celebrates the company’s 10 years in business with two excellence nominations in the upcoming 2018 Standard Bank Top Women Awards taking place on Thursday, 23 August at Emperors Palace.

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Cemented as South Africa’s leading and pre-eminent initiative to honour the achievements and advocate the advancement of gender empowerment, the Standard Bank TOP WOMEN awards celebrates their 15 year anniversary gathering South Africa’s most accomplished businesswomen and organisations accelerating gender transformation in the workplace.

Shaaista Khan Osman’s commitment and successes for Blu Blood and the soon-to-be-launched World Women’s Network has earned her the recognition as a frontrunner of gender empowerment in two categories: TOP BUSINESSWOMAN OF THE YEAR and TOP GENDER EMPOWERED COMPANY IN INNOVATION THROUGH TECHNOLOGY.

Commenting on the achievement of reaching Finalist status, Shaaista comments:

“I was truly taken aback when I received the news of the nominations. I am humbled because it is our strong and dedicated business family unit that has contributed to my successes and of which I am in awe.  I am honoured to take on this great responsibility of being a voice in the progression of women in business alongside other likeminded and courageous women.”

Starting out with a humble upbringing as the youngest of six children, Shaaista’s story is a true testament of hard work, dedication and sincerity.

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

Blu Blood has grown into one of South Africa’s leading event, artist & communication management companies, which Shaaista runs with her business partner & husband, Osman Osman.  Blu Blood is synonymous with hosting the biggest Bollywood productions in South Africa and Africa; producers of one of the most successful comedy brands, Kings & Queens of Comedy; collaborations with local and international comedians including Tumi Morake, Riaad Moosa, Orlando Jones and Russell Peter; as well as producing theatre and children’s stage productions.

But Shaaista’s biggest and most challenging project to date is the World Women’s Network.  Powered by Blu Blood, WWN is a membership based, online global initiative for women’s  economic and social empowerment with the premise of the organization being to give all women the opportunity and tools to achieve their goals, through pivotal joint ventures and strategic partnerships to build sustainable projects for the development and vision of women.   One of the key principles of WWN is the hope to uplift individuals and communicates through education and mentorship by offering free schooling, selected higher education courses and life skills courses and mentorship to members of WWN.

Director of Standard Bank TOP WOMEN, Karla Fletcher:

“We are devoted to providing the ultimate platform to address the challenges facing women-driven economic growth. Together with the CGE, our panel of judges and all those who have participated in the Standard Bank TOP WOMEN Awards in the past 15 years, we represent a community that actively responds to the pertinent questions surrounding the barriers to success for women entrepreneurs. We are excited about the work and calibre of this year’s finalists, and their significant impact offers South Africa optimism for the future.”

Shaaista proclaims that it is up to the individual to “seize every opportunity, own each day and sculpt your own brilliance”.  For more information, visit www.shaaistakhan.com.

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