Our attitude to the small business will determine big business in Africa
Nomalanga Nkosi, GM for Business Marketing at MTN Business
It’s been said time and time again, but reiterating the importance behind the growth of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) for socio-economic development in South Africa is a fundamental directive for MTN Business, and one that we will keep shouting about!
According to a recent World Wide Worx, Internet Matters report* several academic studies and research papers show that SMEs in South Africa contribute between 52% and 57% to GDP and provide about 61% of the country’s employment. These figures are not only astonishing, but this SME community contribute far more than just jobs and GDP; it encourages competition and empowers local communities. Government has also identified that the employment creation potential of small businesses are one of the best ways to address the high unemployment rate of the country.
In South Africa, SMEs face a number of challenges. These include gaining access to capital, overcoming a lack of skills, mitigating the risks of crime and getting reliable infrastructure in place. As they attempt to overcome these challenges, SMEs are becoming more innovative in their approach to business. And in line with this, given that entrepreneurs and SMEs are indispensable contributors to the growth and development of the country, corporate South Africa needs to look at how it can be more actively involved in growing these businesses.
Firstly, there is additional revenue-making opportunity by tailoring services and solutions to entrepreneurs and SMEs. More importantly, it is part of being a good corporate citizen to give entrepreneurs and SMEs the tools needed to help them overcome obstacles to doing business and help them grow for the empowerment of their local communities. And this does not mean simply providing access to funds or donating equipment to a SME. The need exists to become the development partners of these small businesses and equip them with the skills needed to make a discernible difference in the country.
MTN Business is committed to doing just that. We understand the business needs of entrepreneurs and SMEs and have developed a range of tailored ICT solutions that are focused on helping them grow.
This commitment also extends to being involved in, and sponsoring SME-focused initiatives, that really make a valuable contribution to the SME locally. Two recent and diverse examples include; our silver sponsorship to bring the acclaimed International Small Business Congress (ISBC) to African shores for the very first time (15-18 September in Johannesburg), and bringing the second series of the proudly South African reality TV show – The Big Break Legacy – to viewers, now across Africa through DStv!
MTN Business truly supports the ‘Can Do’ entrepreneurial spirit that South Africans possess and in line with this philosophy and mantra, has committed to providing aspects that promote value and enhance access to all sizes of business, industries and people in South Africa be it through financial support and/or product development – both equally important to sustained development and ultimately growth.
*World Wide Worx; Internet Matters: The Quiet Engine of the South African Economy