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Opinion Pieces

#Sona made it clear: No one is coming to save entrepreneurs

Article written by Harry Welby-Cooke (Actioncoach)

The State of the Nation (Sona) address by President Cyril Ramaphosa, was devoid of the usual interruptions and chaos engineered by the comrades in red, I almost felt cheated instead of relieved.

At least the antics of the comrades in red, whilst extremely frustrating and high blood pressure-inducing, created an interesting diversion to the boring and ridiculousness we’ve come to expect from Sona.

The longer-than-usual Sona had the usual waxing lyrical about the successes of the past, accentuated by the need to look back on the full 30 years since the dawn of our new democracy.

To illustrate the benefits for society, we were introduced to ‘Tintswalo’. Our dear President attempted to console us with the imaginative character’s perfect ‘new’ world brought about by the amazing achievements of our government.

Glamourising entrepreneurship: The warning label is missing

Article written by Allon Raiz (CEO of Raizcorp)

As someone who is a strong proponent and campaigner for entrepreneurship, writing an article entitled “Why glamourising entrepreneurship is a problem” may, on the face of it, seem a little hypocritical. Why would I write such a piece when I am so pro-entrepreneurship as an economic development tool?

It’s simple. I believe that South Africa has developed a culture of glamourising entrepreneurship that is, in a sense, “false advertising”. The warning label is missing. It is widely accepted that around 96% of new businesses fail within a ten-year period the world over. That is a staggering statistic and not one that can be easily glossed over. If I may draw a comparison, how many kids would enlist in the army – despite those grand notions of honour and patriotism – if you told them that only four out of 100 would come back alive?

South African small businesses remain resilient despite challenges

South African small and medium businesses (SMBs) remain optimistic about their prospects despite a challenging 2022, where rising costs significantly impacted profitability. This is according to Sage's annual survey of almost 12,000 SMB leaders globally, called Small Business, Big Opportunity.

The findings from the survey reveal that 83% of business decision-makers are confident their company will be successful 12 months from now, an increase from 2022 of 76%. Over a third (41%) say that working more efficiently is increasing business confidence.

Looking to the next twelve months, over half (54%) of South Africa’s SMBs expect an increase in revenue, with 42% expecting to increase their workforce.

Why ‘going green’ has risen quickly to the top of SME agendas

Article written by Alan Shannon (Nedbank Executive of Small Business Services and Private Clients)

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are under immense pressure in a tough economic landscape. Considering their substantial role in driving economic growth and job creation, there is now a heightened focus on their survival and growth. According to the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), SMEs account for 90% of all businesses worldwide, and 50% of employment. In South Africa SMEs employ more than 60% of the workforce, but their growth has been hampered by all-too-frequent power cuts and the devastating economic impact of load-shedding. Beyond traditional funding, SMEs now need 'greener' funding models as a matter of urgency. Therefore, South Africa’s banking sector must rise to the challenge of enabling SMEs who are struggling to continue their operations and keep the lights on.

What makes me proudly South African

Article written by Tania Muhlenbeck (ActionCOACH Business Coach)

South Africa, is truly a country of abundance. We are blessed with beauty all around us. With places, I love like Table Mountain, Kruger National Park, Namaqualand, Vineyards of Franshoek, and the Blyde River Canyon. Did you know that South Africa holds the world's longest wine route, meandering through some of the country's most fertile, thriving grape valleys, stretching from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth?

What about our animals? First, we have the Big Five. The Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and the Elephant, the largest land mammal. Then the tallest land mammal, the Giraffe. The largest bird, the Ostrich. The fastest land animal, the Cheetah and the largest antelope, the Eland, all a stone throw from our front door.

Working together to build a culture of entrepreneurship is key to SA’s economic future

Article written by Alan Shannon (Executive: Small Business Services and Private Clients - Nedbank)

Although the need for a more entrepreneurial culture in South Africa wasn’t created by the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant lockdowns, it certainly raised awareness of the importance of entrepreneurship and significantly increased the urgency with which our country needs to build that culture.

The ability to earn an income is one of the cornerstones on which every person’s physical and mental well-being depends. However, the options for earning such an income have decreased massively over the past decade, and the concept of getting a steady job and working in that position for life is something that few people can depend on anymore.

5 reasons South Africa needs more womenpreneurs

Article written by Antoinette Venter (ActionCOACH Business Coach - Mpumalanga)

It's no secret that women have had to fight harder than men to become a legitimate presence in virtually every aspect of business. Thankfully, the gender gap is slowly shrinking on the corporate side, with more female executives in the workplace but women entrepreneurs seem to still be very few due to venture capital funding for small women-owned businesses.

It's difficult to get an exact number for South Africa, but one estimate says that between January 2018 and August 2019, only about 4.5% of venture capital funding went to companies started by women. When it comes to black women, the situation is even worse. Less than 0.2% of all funding for businesses in their early stages goes to black women.

Doing it all – what it took to get here! A letter to all young entrepreneurs

Article by Kay Cheytanov

When I started my business 21 years ago, I genuinely didn't think I was starting a 'business'. I was simply following my passion and looking for a way for it to pay for itself - and for me.

To some, it didn’t seem likely that I would find much success. You see, I hadn’t done any business courses or gotten a degree in management and so it probably appeared as though I was woefully underprepared to make any sort of income. However, armed with just a secretarial diploma, a bit of my intuition, and plenty of drive, ahead I went. I’ll be the first to admit that from the outside it may not have looked like I was going to get far, but those three things allowed me to fulfil my dreams.

Women in business: preparing the next generation – a father’s perspective

Article written by Pieter Scholtz (ActionCOACH - Country Partner)

The month of August sees us celebrating Women’s Month and it is in this context that I want to provide some focus on the important role that women play in the business world and society.

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Africa now has the highest growth in businesses started and run by women. One does not have to go far to find many examples of successful women in business and society to understand the important role that they play. 

Green building: a golden opportunity for South African SMEs

Article provided by Business Partners

The demand for ‘green,’ or environmentally sound buildings has been driven strongly by the global shift towards sustainable development as well as various push and pull factors. Unstable power supply and the opportunity to save on utilities are just two of the reasons businesses are planning to go green, however, the core issue of a high-cost outlay on these ventures remains.

This is according to Mark Paper, Chief Operating Officer: Business Partners International at Business Partners Ltd, who has played an instrumental role in the launch of a R720-million green buildings financing programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The programme, which launched in early 2022 will provide funding for SMEs to either purchase, build or retrofit buildings to make them green.

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