In South Africa, for a long time now, we have been inundated with negative publicity regarding employment rates and economic growth.
It is small businesses that are essential to our development in South Africa. “The National Development Plan (NDP) envisions the South African economy growing by at least 5.4% growth per year over the next 15 years. Essentially to treble in size – and identifies the SME sector as a pivotal player in driving this growth.” – SME Growth index. Versofy is ideally positioned to help with this process across the board, accelerating growth by making vital connections. Some facts, by way of illustration:
South African research group, World Wide Worx released its 2016 State of South African Small Business report. It shows what small business leaders in the country are facing. The report’s findings are based on a survey of 400 small business owners across 22 sectors in South Africa. It was compiled by WWW, in partnership with Xero, a cloud-based accounting software firm.
South Africa does not invest in procuring accurate statistics on small businesses in our country. This makes it difficult to find the exact number of companies that operate in the country. According to SME experts, what complicates matters is that there is no clear definition of what a small business is. There is also a lack of measurability across the informal industries.
- According to previous findings by World Wide Worx, there are an estimated 650,000 small businesses in South Africa, employing around 7.8 million people.
- Estimates from WWW and SME South Africa place the GDP contribution of small businesses at 52% and 61% respectively. Further findings show that small businesses are in fact extremely successful in South Africa.
- A massive 94% of businesses surveyed said that they were profitable, with more than a third (37%) saying that they were profitable from the start. Three-quarters of business owners believe they are making more money than they would have working for someone else.
- Two-thirds of small business owners said that technology was very important or essential for their business operations. Smart devices and apps are making their lives and the running of their businesses much easier. Only a small portion of businesses (29%) generate income online, with 49% of businesses opting for traditional brick and mortar. With Versofy one does not need to sacrifice one for the other. Businesses can increase their revenue online without changing their traditional methods.
- Small business owners were bullish about the South African economy. More than half (58%) expect the country’s economy to grow in the next year (versus 12% who expect it to shrink). Economic growth was what businesses were most looking forward to. It would result in increased consumer demand and possible tax breaks from the government.
Versofy helping SME’s
From the above statistics, one is able to see that small businesses are on the rise. The introduction of the Internet has meant that small businesses are given the opportunity to be part of a much broader market place.
These days it is difficult to keep up with the bigger suppliers when it comes to online marketing. Without significant investment into Google Adwords and SEO it has become increasingly difficult to “get found” on the Internet. Versofy is able to level the playing field somewhat by sending leads to ALL relevant suppliers in their fields. This leaves the onus on the supplier to bid for the business. It has reversed the tried and tested classified process, allowing the service providers to focus on their core business and not worry about getting to the first page on Google. With Versofy, relying on being found on the Internet is a thing of the past.
The future is looking bright for South African SME’s
Part of our mandate and drive at Versofy is to supplement our local organic growth in the SME sector and develop the market throughout the country. We believe that South Africa is on the right path and is ripe for a real boom in the SME ecosystem.
2017 sees South Africa and Johannesburg host the annual Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC). It is an annual convention that gathers the brightest minds in the entrepreneurial, investor and start up sectors along with researchers and policy makers from across more than 160 countries. It is charged with identifying new ways of helping founders start and scale their ventures on a world wide stage.
“At the weeklong GEC, delegates make connections, gain insights, learn about new research, and leave ready to renew their programs, policy ideas or firm founder skills.” – GEC
Opportunity is knocking. A convention of this scale and international recognition being hosted in South Africa can only be seen as a silver lining on the dark clouds that is our current environment. For us personally, it enhances our feeling of positivity and persistence while giving us the overwhelming sense that there is definitely gold at the end of the rainbow, for our nation.