Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) have been identified as productive drivers of inclusive economic growth and development in South Africa. SMME’s are considered an important contributor to the economy and reducing unemployment, according to Mr Costa Georghiades.
Speaking at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and Dr Richard Maponya Think Tank, Mr Georghiades, the Chief Executive Officer at Thavma Business Consulting, said SMME business owners must not just rely on the contracts they secured. “We need to cultivate an entrepreneurial culture among South Africans by linking SMME’s with formal business through the implementation of dynamic and pliable mentorship programmes,” he said.
He pointed out that SMME’s make up 91% of formalised businesses, employ about 60% of the labour force and contribute 34% to GDP in the country.
“SMMEs will flourish when there is access to markets, funding and flexibility for small business owners in the main economy. 99% of businesses that fail have cash flow management problem because they do not work on their financial statements and records. This is the case in both rural areas and urban areas. However, SMME business owners in the rural areas also have a good business acumen; and in addition they do not owe what they own. Banks should consider granting them loans,” said Mr Georghiades.
Mr George Negota, the Director of the Dr Richard Maponya Institute for Skills and Entrepreneurship Development echoed Mr Georghiades sentiments adding that South Africa’s challenges cannot be postponed and that the economy will not change unless entrepreneurs become more involved.
Watch Mr Georghiades’ address at the UJ-Dr Maponya Think Tank for small business owners:
Dr Engela van Staden, Chief Director: Academic Planning and Management Support, Department of Higher Education and Training’s (DHET), also shared some interesting facts during the Think Tank; “In South Africa, children and students go to school so that they can find jobs when they graduate. That mentality needs to change; graduates must learn to create jobs for themselves and other people. Entrepreneurship must be part of society. Young people need to be taught to ‘have the courage to start their own businesses’. It is possible; research shows that the more a person is educated in South Africa, the more likely they believe that they have entrepreneurial capabilities. Here is the problem though: the culture of entrepreneurship is not adequately implemented in the curriculum in schools and even in universities.”