The Small to Medium Enterprise sector in South Africa is under a lot of pressure; the stubbornly high rate of unemployment requires that businesses become economically and societally successful in order to contribute to the country’s GDP and to create job opportunities.
Entrepreneurs are not exempt from this pressure. As a matter of opinion, it appears that the responsibility to convert the astounding failure of government(s) to create jobs and create scalable businesses into opportunities sits squarely on the very shoulders of aspiring and already achieved business men and women.
Of course, the conditions to achieve this economical and societal success aren’t the easiest to overcome (and perhaps they aren’t supposed to be), otherwise everyone would pursue entrepreneurship and the world would be an oyster.
Here are some of these conditions that I’m referring to:
- Job seekers still prefer corporate careers;
- The second recession since ’94 has dropped confidence in the economy;
- For many reasons (risk, society, etc) there’s a low tolerance for failure of entrepreneurs;
- There are expected discrepancies between funding mandates & entrepreneur’s eligibility;
- The oversupply of entrepreneurs in saturated markets is not showing signs of decline;
- Overwhelming failures by Enterprise Development initiatives to realize real transformation;
- The easily accessible forms of capital require security and collateral that entrepreneurs lack;
- Attracting & retaining top talent is increasingly difficult within small business; and
- Priority sectors getting government support are capital intensive and often monopolized.
South African businesses, small and large, that have garnered an appreciation for these conditions understand the value of the competitive advantage offered by technology. The result of this is seen in industry leaders across various sectors such as insurance and financial services; over the past few years, they demonstrated how the power of digitalisation can directly drive positive over-all growth and impact a business’ bottom-line.
It goes without saying that entrepreneurs, managers and customers respectively recognize technology as a tool for growth, to operate effectively and engaging businesses.
However, I’m not purporting that technology/digitalisation will soon be an answer to everything. We must recognize that accessing markets, networks and the necessary early stage financial support is as important to empowering businesses in a way that guarantees that is aligned and desirable to the nation’s 2030 ambitions.
I’m not the first, but I’m purporting that we adopt the aggressive mindset that says we’re to take advantage of the tools and opportunities that are near us, economically exploit these opportunities in a way that ensures meaningful economic participation & positive societal impact and build an ecosystem of financial & high moral value exchange.
What are your thoughts? Let’s talk business & technology…
@TsholoSehume on popular social platforms
By: Tsholo Sehume (MaruAfrica, CEO) – 19 January 2019
Image Src: The Real Estate of South African Entrepreneurship (www.seedengine.co.za)