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Transformation in South Africa
I believe that SA has made good strides, however the economy is still lagging.
Digital transformation for instance is still an area that is lagging; only a few
companies have competitive advantage in this area. A practical example can
be digitising in schools, the Gauteng Department Education (GDE) is the only
province leading in this area meaning that the ICT rollout is growing at a slow
rate in terms of offering equal opportunities for learners.
The access to support and funding for entrepreneurs is also lagging meaning
that young entrepreneurs in SA start out feeling frustrated due to limited
availability and in some instances even the incubator and enterprise
development programmes are not giving adequate support.
If we are interested in building the economy there is a need to establish
hubs of economic development that will bridge the equality gap, these
will assist the community in moving their ideas from ideation to reality. We
have a few centres established by the Innovation Hub called the eKasi Labs
but this is not a fight that they can fight alone we need more corporates
and government entities participating in entrepreneurial development
initiatives from procurement, market access and support. We are currently
sitting in an economic climate where the government and corporate are
still giving business opportunities to big corporates instead of empowering
SMEs. Barriers of entry into the systems prohibit the growth of SMEs and they
end up doing business amongst themselves which sometimes stagnates
grow. Furthermore, SMEs need to get preferential support when it comes to
procurement and payment of contracts. While a large corporate can survive
a delayed payment SMEs struggle to recover from delayed payments; which
leads to the failure of most SMEs.
In the areas of enterprise development, you have enterprise development
programmes attended by people who do not even know the landscape. They
attend based on their relations with the owner or the CEO of that particular
company. The need to re-evaluate and act is required as we are sitting now
with a lot of young, amazing entrepreneurs with great ideas. So, this is not
just corporates who are not fully participating but really understanding
the landscape of entrepreneurship because I still say that government
programmes need to be sub-contracting 50% to 80% of the work for these
big contract events to entrepreneurs.
SMEs often raise the issue of not having funds, when in reality what some
of them are trying to say is that the they want a market share, sales is one of
the best ways to raise funding and it also gives you market share. Corporates
should consider establishing fund with credible organisations that drive
entrepreneur development of the ground. Enterprise development which
is a good concept in my view was to be the stepping stone for SME support
with Supplier Development being the driver that will see them signing deals
and accessing markets but we seem to have largely focused on Supplier
development only which has now resulted in a choked in the system.
The creation of a favourable and equal environment for women is growing
at a slow rate. Inequality in the workplace is still a huge concern meaning
that gender transformation is also lagging. Women are still earning less than
their male colleagues in some industries and they are not given equal power.
In closing the schooling system should incorporate entrepreneurship from
the primary school level, encouraging the growth of an entrepreneurial mindset and enabling children to enterprise
at a young age. Transformation
also needs to take place in the
loosening of policies to foster
the growth of SMEs.