Taking SMMEs to the next level


“No business can grow in isolation,” said Henry van Deventer, Head of Wealth Development at Old Mutual, speaking at the SMME Opportunity Roadshow 2017 that culminated in a celebration of small business in Durban last week. The Roadshow travelled to Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town earlier in 2017, bringing together SMME owners, corporates, government officials and funding agencies to empower small businesses. Exciting exhibitions, inspiring talks and practical tips were key elements at the third annual SMME Opportunity Roadshow.

The small business sector need to contribute to at least 800 000 jobs a year in order to match the government’s goal of creating 11 million jobs by 2030, according to Lindiwe Zulu, the Minister of Small Business Development. It is a mammoth task that requires giving entrepreneurs access to both funding and sound advice, as stated by Zizipho Nyanga, CEO of the Old Mutual Masisizane Fund.

However, the mindset of the entrepreneur is even more important than all the external factors, including education. “Entrepreneurs have a passion, spark, flavour and drive that education can’t give,” says Martin Ackerman, CFO of Thevia. Masonwabe Fuma, social entrepreneur and President of Enactus at the University of Johannesburg, elaborated further: “When you become an entrepreneur, you get the mindset of solving problems, and as you solve problems you create jobs.”

The Roadshow aims to give entrepreneurs the chance to learn from, and connect with, experienced entrepreneurs who faced the same challenges as they do and excelled in their business and life. In addition to being a great networking opportunity, the Roadshow educates entrepreneurs on how to grow their business, recognise and seize opportunities, and protect their income. Public-private sector collaboration is also key, so that state agencies like the Competition Commission and the Department of Small Business Development are present to showcase the funding and incubation opportunities available in the public sector.

“The SMME sector is one of the most powerful tools available to us to transform South Africa,” said Robert Arendse, Managing Director of the SMME Opportunity Roadshow. For this reason, sponsors and funding agencies, such as Old Mutual and Datsun, help enable and grow the event. “We are always on the look-out for partnerships aimed at improving and enabling the SME sector, so we are proud to be part of the SMME Opportunity Roadshow 2017,” said Tessa Cooke, Marketing Manager of Roadshow sponsors Datsun.

“This third annual instalment of the SMME Opportunity Roadshow was an unmitigated success. We heard so many success stories of SMMEs using the event to take their businesses to the next level. Next year will be even better!” concludes Arendse.

For more information, visit Join the conversation on Twitter (@SMME_Roadshow or #SMME2017) and on Facebook

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