On the road again

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Small and medium enterprise (SME) owners’ confidence levels that the South African economy will be conducive for business growth in the next 12 months has declined for the second successive quarter at the end of last year. And, SMEs surveyed have almost unanimously indicated that their main challenges in the next 6 to 12 months would be economic conditions, cash flow and funding. This is according to the prominent Business Partners Limited SME Index (BPLSI).

In line with this, and the Government’s renewed focus on SMME development in South Africa, our publication and staff will throw our weight fully behind the plight of SMMEs in order to create a platform where SMME owners across the country can get together to gather valuable information that will assist them to navigate the challenges facing them in 2016, says Lindsay King, Editor of Opportunity magazine.

“Last October the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected South Africa’s growth to be below 1.5% for both last year and this year. In December the rand reached an all-time low against most major currencies and the current tough economic environment, which is expected to be with us for the next 12 to 24 months, will also impact on SME confidence in 2016. Therefore, going forward, SMME owners who are serious about their business will need all the help they can to equip themselves with knowledge and ensure that they have access to among others, finance and markets,” says King.

According to Robert Arendse, MD of Cape Media Corporation, the SMME Opportunity Roadshow organisers, the company last year decided to start the project, realising that SMEs contribute toward more than 45% of South Africa’s total GDP. He says as around 60% of all workers are employed by small businesses employing fewer than 50 people, a large portion of new jobs are created by SMEs. Therefore, he says, in the current economic environment, small businesses will need even more support in 2016.”

“Our unemployment rate is around 24.2% and forecasted growth in GDP by 2015 is at 2.1%, and 2.7% by 2016. This is an increased challenge in terms of job creation. Big businesses are unable to create these jobs and this challenge brings opportunity. With the introduction of the roadshow last year, we hoped to bring together experts in the field to share their knowledge and bring to the table solutions for SMMEs, who generally work in silo’s and would not be exposed to this kind of knowledge.

“It is important that Government and the private sector work together to drive SME growth in South Africa. In this regard, the roadshow is not just a platform for SMMEs, it is also a wonderful opportunity for both Government and the private sector to get involved and make a difference and among others, include SMEs into their supply chains,” Arendse says.

According to him, the National Development Plan (NDP) is earmarked as the blue-print for South Africa’s economic development and SMMEs are an integral part of the plan. The strategy of SMME Opportunity Roadshow is well aligned with that of the NDP and that is one of the main reasons why SMMEs, Government and the private sector should embrace this platform to achieve their respective goals.

“One of the most powerful drivers behind small business development is the South African National Infrastructure Plan (SANIP). With 18 Strategic Integrated Projects countrywide comprising a total of at least 645 identified projects, the SANIP promises a host of concrete opportunities across the value chain for SMMEs that are equipped to participate. Naturally, it takes considerable business acumen for any SMME to participate in mature projects, whether as part of SANIP or any other tender. Fortunately, South Africa is blessed with a host of small business incubators and other facilitators expertly equipped with the means to lend small business wings.

“It is the intention of the SMME Opportunity Roadshow not only to showcase opportunities under the umbrella of the SANIP, but also to provide focused guidance for SMMEs to mainstream their competitive advantage as effectively as possible. This will enable SMMEs to position themselves advantageously in the value chain of any project. Of course, SMMEs will also be networking with key players in every economy sector, meeting the people they need to take their business further,” according to Arendse.

He says the inaugural events last year exceeded his expectations and gauging by the attendance and feedback, this year’s events are expected to surpass those of last year. “We and all our partners will pull out all the stops to ensure that everyone attending, delegates, exhibitors and sponsors have the perfect platform to showcase what they have to offer,” he concludes.

When and where?

The SMME Opportunity Roadshow will once again be travelling around the country next year - the provisional stops and dates are as follows:

  • 27 May 2016 - Johannesburg (Emperors Palace)
  • 26 July 2016 - Durban (DICC)
  • 07 Sept 2016 - Cape Town (CTICC)
  • 15 Nov 2016 - Port Elizabeth (Boardwalk Hotel and Casino)

For more information to attend, book a stand or become an event sponsor,contact Puseletso Nkopane on 021 681 7000, 061 474 4683 or

* Please note this is a provisional list and could change. Closer to the time we will offer the opportunity for you to send through your details in order to attend the one closest to you. 



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Issue 91


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