Entrepreneurship is the single most important activity in our economy. It is the only activity that enables enterprising South Africans to create new value, new money and new jobs. It stands to reason that our government has a responsibility to encourage entrepreneurship.
If you are planning on starting your own business, there are several factors and challenges that you will need to take into account:
• Accessing funding to set up a business can be a minefield. Many small businesses do not qualify for credit. You need to know who to approach and how.
• Sourcing clients is key because they are the oil that greases the wheels of your business. It’s important to have solid marketing skills and a database of targeted clients.
• Obtaining sound advice on legal, financial, HR and tax issues is imperative. You need unbiased, professional advice to make sure that you are compliant in all these areas.
Petra Rees, Head of Business at Lean Enterprise Acceleration Programme (LEAP), points out that in order to achieve the mandate set by the government in the National Development Plan, 90% of 11 million new jobs between now and 2030 are expected to be created by small and expanding firms, “We constantly hear about the need for more entrepreneurs, yet not enough is done to actively assist people to start their own businesses or to smooth the way for them through the forest of laws and red tape.” LEAP is part of the PLP Group and provides business support to SMEs, designs and implements tailor-made solutions for corporates in the E&SD sphere, offers BEE advisory services and measures the impact of these initiatives.
South African entrepreneurs often battle the negative effects of imported products from other countries. As if that wasn’t enough, they have to contend with unionised labour forces, complicated
taxation and lending requirements by the banks as well as rising cost of electricity. 80% of SMEs fail within the first four years of operation. According to the latest Finscope study, 50% of business owners tend to rely on friends and family for business advice, only 11% using external professionals and 30% rely on themselves. “Professional mentorship and key business input increase the chances of survival of start-up companies as well as promote sustainability in more established companies. And that is what LEAP is all about” mentions Rees.
Entrepreneurs should access as much assistance as possible. Discuss your situation with a company such as LEAP that specialises in assisting with the unique requirements of entrepreneurs. LEAP provides comprehensive24/7 business support services to SMEs in South Africa. It also advises companies on how to implement effective Enterprise and Supplier Development programmes and improve their BEE ratings to gain maximum benefits.
With a network of over 140 000 suppliers, 180 mentors and consultants, LEAP currently provides business assistance to over 120 000 SMEs (some of these being business customers of MTN and Telesure Group). The company has recently acquired another feather in its cap having been awarded the running of a benefit programme for all the graded hospitality establishments of the Tourism Grading Council.
Rees concludes, “We are always thrilled to support entrepreneurs – they are the lifeblood of our economy. They deserve to make excellent profits and have thriving, growing businesses that add positively to their own lives and the lives of others.”