Business owners empowered

About 200 business-minded people put their heads together at the day-long Entrepreneurship Summit and Supplier held at Old Mutual in Pinelands on Tuesday 21 August.

Organisers say the event was aimed at creating a sense of financial inclusion among entrepreneurs and small business owners in Africa, making sure that they are equipped with the knowledge to transform their businesses into productive and sustainable contributors to the continent’s economy.

Old Mutual Limited CEO, Peter Moyo, says key to this is developing a value-driven ecosystem for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa.

“A value chain nurtured and supported by big businesses on the continent will assist in tackling the critical challenges prominent in the region, particularly the need to create a significant number of jobs for the continent’s booming population­.”

Khanya Okumu, SME development manager at Old Mutual, explains that they want to encourage the youth to be part of the mainstream economy, and encourage all start-up businesses to focus on getting expert financial advice and understanding that skills development is critical.

“We encourage financial inclusivity because driving financial inclusion among entrepreneurs and small business owners in Africa will ensure that they are equipped with the knowledge to transform their businesses into productive and sustainable contributors to the continent’s economy.

“Being skilled and competent in a field is key to identifying the gap in the market or rather the market in the gap that will enable them to meet a need, address an issue or come up with a solution that will enable them to become a successful business owner or entrepreneur.”

Some of the key elements that cause the failure of these start-up businesses in the SME sector relate to access to finance, poor infrastructure, low levels of research and development, onerous labour laws, inefficient government bureaucracy, high levels of crime, and lack of access to markets.