Breaking down borders - Top considerations for SMEs expanding into Africa

In light of Africa Day on the 25th of May, more South African small and medium enterprise (SME) owners should be encouraged to look at how they could expand their operations into the rest of the continent.

This is according to Mark Paper, Chief Operating Officer at Business Partners International (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that Africa has for long been regarded as a region with untapped economic opportunity. “The African Development Bank reports that the economic growth in Africa is set to accelerate to 4.1% over the course of 2018 and 2019, which can potentially yield benefits for SMEs.”

Paper points out that entrepreneurs should however firstly consider that each of Africa’s 54 countries represents a unique market with differing challenges and intricacies for doing business. “The various economies, laws, languages and cultures need to be thoroughly assessed as part of the entrepreneur’s expansion plan, which should be structured around the target region’s strengths, weaknesses, …

Ensure your stokvel is geared for growth

Why your stokvel needs to be more than a deposit box

Stokvels are on the move: moving from villages to cities, from mattresses into savings accounts and investment instruments. And as they move, they evolve and their potential for growth and their ability to create wealth increases.

“Stokvels have progressed in both the way their role is perceived and in the way they operate,” says Ntombi Tisani, Head of Marketing at Old Mutual Personal Finance. “While they continue to play a key role in our communities; the arrangement of stokvels is increasingly reflective of changing social dynamics. These include expanded definitions of stokvels as hubs for socialising, helping to reduce costs, realising shared goals – like savings for holiday travel, building commitment and spreading financial education.”

As South Africa’s R45 billion stokvel industry continues to grow, more and more financial solutions are being designed for the nation’s stokvel groups, now estimated to be over 800 000. “The fac…

High data costs continue to hamper SME growth in SA

It is imperative to reduce the cost of data in South Africa to contribute to minimising the cost of running a small and medium enterprise (SME) and improve their growth.

This is according to Jeremy Lang, Regional General Manager at Business Partners Limited, who says that internet connectivity has become an indispensable business tool for most entrepreneurs and business owners. “However, the high cost of data in the country is severely impacting the profitability and productivity of many SMEs and startup businesses and can be a notable prohibitor when it comes to accelerating SME growth.”

He says that the cost of data in South Africa has been the source of much debate in recent years, with a new survey by research consultancy - BDRC Continental- on the competitiveness of broadband data costs, ranking South Africa at 97th place on a list of 196 countries. “In terms of competitive pricing, South Africa ranks below a number of other emerging economies, including Guatemala (72), Morocco …

Lessons for “momtrepreneurs” this Mothers’ Day

Mothers are often lauded as the superheroes of their homes and society at large. So, when it comes to entrepreneurial moms, there can be no doubt that these women are a boundless source of inspiration who serve as motivation for their children and other moms to pursue entrepreneurship, a decision that can only benefit South Africa into the future.

Gugu Mjadu, spokesperson for the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS points to the 2016-17 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report for South Africa which shows that for every 10 male entrepreneurs more than seven women were engaged in early-stage entrepreneurship activity - an increase from six in 2015.

Mjadu believes that lifestyle-entrepreneurship, where the business is a means to a particular lifestyle, offers a unique opportunity for women who need to fulfil the duties of motherhood, but who are also passionate entrepreneurs. “We are seeing these momtrepreneurs establishing successful home…

Avoid becoming a victim in a property scam

Our lives have been made considerably easier with technological advances such as the internet. Unfortunately it has also opened up a world of opportunities for con artists. As automation improves, so does the level of property scams, and while every precaution is taken, there will always be yet another way that fraudsters discover to deceive buyers and sellers out of large sums of money.

“Fraud and investment scams thrive in all degrees in the real estate market, from developers who expect payment for work not done or a pretend agent who embezzles money. Working with a legitimate estate agent at your side will ensure that you will be protecting yourself against common types of real estate scams. When dealing with an agent, buyers and sellers must check that the agent is registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board and has a valid Fidelity Fund Certificate. It's illegal for an agent to practise if they are not in possession of this important document. These certificates are iss…