Small Business Expo, in partnership with Eskom is devoted to the development and growth of small and medium enterprises by providing an opportunity for them to market themselves and interact with corporates and investors. #BuyaBusiness expo connects entrepreneurs and investors who are looking to grow, diversify or enter business partnerships with one of the many business and franchise opportunities to be showcased.
According to Tshepo Phakathi – CEO of Phakathi Holdings; Xhanti Payi – Economist at Nascence Advisory and Research; and Dumisani Bengu – Head of Franchise and Enablement – Business Banking at Barclays Africa, government control over businesses is not capable of making small and medium enterprises sustainable. However, the business champions mentioned that knowledge and know-how in business operations is vital to hold small business and make them sustainable. The gurus said all these things during the opening of the annual #BuyaBusiness and Small Business Expo at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg. The three-day business expos featured panel discussions on factors influencing small business success in South Africa today.
Phakathi added that South Africa is at a lower rank on the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, with only 7 in every 100 adults starting a business while 37 of every 100 in Cameroon starts a business. Statistically, a typical South African entrepreneur is male, 25 – 44 years of age, lives in an urban area, is involved in the retail and wholesale sector and has a secondary or tertiary level of education. Based on this, the business master class during the opening highlighted that, to overcome the country’s unemployment challenge and improving SMEs demands a large focus on education. Phakathi said. “Therefore, we need a long term strategy focused on education. In the shorter term, we need to look at getting people skilled.”
Payi Xhanti also continued that “It’s possible that regulations are starting to make it harder for very small businesses to start up. We need to step back and allow people to be entrepreneurial,” he mentioned. Furthermore, “Government should facilitate business development, but not govern behaviour. And we need to get past the mentality that says ‘government should do something for us’,” he added.
Undoubtedly, funding has been notified as a major challenge for new businesses and startup in Africa. Despite this idea in the minds of majority, the panel declared that the problem of capital and funding isn’t so much a huge problem– according to them, the main challenge is making a case for the funding.
The experts added, startups needs good business plan to attract capital and funding. Bengu said that, he remembers a client whose first business plan was written out in lead pencil, but proved to be bankable. “We funded the business and supported it, and it has grown tremendously,” he said. The business experts agreed that knowledge and education were crucial for small business development and success. Payi said: “The education system needs to be more strategic – it needs to package education in such a way that it helps people to think and present ideas, and prepares them for business.”
The expo, working on the inputs of these experts, presented in-depth workshops across a broad range of strategic and practical business topics, as well as facilitating networking between entrepreneurs, business support services and investors, giving small businesses access to the information they need to grow sustainably.