Article provided by Vodacom
Supporting small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) as they navigate the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic is an ongoing commitment that Vodacom Business delivers on in our Fast Forward Series. Currently in its third season, after successfully debuting in 2019, the aim of the free-to-attend series is to drive meaningful change and growth that enables crucial digitalisation within the SME business environment.
Offering SMEs the support they seek
Embracing technology will help SMEs become more agile and resilient, enabling businesses to quickly adapt to customers’ evolving needs. With a wealth of knowledge and expertise at our disposal, Vodacom Business is perfectly poised to support SMEs through this necessary digital change, which can seem daunting to tackle without the right partner by your side.
“We recognise the passion these SMEs possess, as well as the grit, determination, and hard work that goes into establishing and running a small venture,” says Vodacom Business Chief Officer, William Mzimba. “More than that, as a trusted partner digital solutions for businesses, we intimately understand the unique challenges that SMEs face in these times of unprecedented change, against the backdrop of the pandemic, the recent business disruption in KZN and Gauteng, load shedding and other business disruptions.”
A common concern many SMEs express is how to set up a business that not only survives but thrives in this new normal. “Understanding that digitalisation holds the key in the current climate, our goal is to create a collaborative environment with our SME partners, in which we can facilitate skills development and information sharing to drive the strategic-thinking that underpins growth,” explains Mzimba.
A look at this year’s series
In Season 3 of the Fast Forward Series Vodacom Business is hosting several interactive, online workshops and webinars providing thought leadership and practical guidance on key business topics. Fast Forward also offers a platform for SMEs to engage with an array of industry experts from Amazon Web Services, Business Doctors and the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC). Some of the regional partners, such as Cape Town Tourism, will also be joining this year’s roster to host provincial-level workshops tailored for specific industries, like tourism, which was particularly hard-hit by the pandemic.
This year, Fast Forward’s national programme will cover a few themes including ‘Future Forward’, ‘Business Fundamentals First’, and ‘Smart Connections’. The content hosted under these themes will be uploaded to our dedicated YouTube channel giving SMEs free access should they miss any of the live sessions.
In partnership with the NSBC, the Future Forward theme is structured around a set of interactive, hour-long, online workshops that discuss how best to integrate simple, cost-effective technologies to boost business efficiency and productivity. Here, SMEs will gain insights about the cloud and e-commerce, learn how to get their business online, what benefits CRM tools can offer, and more.
Business Fundamentals First, hosted by Business Doctors, is the perfect series of digital workshops to attend for both aspiring SMES and existing SMEs looking to build a more sustainable operating model. In the workshops, which run over an hour or 90 minutes each, attendees will gain valuable information around many fundamentals, such as finance infrastructure, governance, and technology.
Under our Smart Connections theme, various partners will participate in a series of 45-minute online masterclasses. In these sessions, topics such as how to rebuild during difficult times and how self-care can benefit your business are addressed. The goal of these sessions is to help SMEs make smarter connections with their own audience and grow on their own success.
With South Africa’s unemployment rate at 32.6%, small and medium-sized enterprises can play a key role in job creation. By nurturing entrepreneurial minds through the lens of digitalisation, Vodacom Business is taking our SME partners further together on their own future-proofed paths to success. “Our commitment is to help our SME partners formulate and execute sustainable, inclusive business plans that leverage technology for continued growth, ensuring they can participate meaningfully in the global digital economy,” says Mzimba.
To tune into Season 3 of the Fast Forward Series, you can register for free here