29 October 2019

Small Business Institute #SMEIndaba scheduled as business rankings slip

Dysfunctional municipalities and the “biggest elephants in the room” (red tape and late payments) holding back an enabling environment for SMEs will be discussion topics at the Small Business Institute (SBI)’s #SMEIndaba in Bryanston 7 November 2019.

The conversations will take place just as South Africa’s position in the Doing Business survey slipped to its worst position in more than 10 years; business confidence has tumbled to its lowest level in two decades; and South Africa has fallen 56 places over the past 14 years in the Fraser Institute’s study of economic freedom.

“While the World Bank might not be God, as Baleka Mbete said in her interview on Al Jazeera, some of President (Cyril) Ramaphosa’s policy considerations are guided by an eagerness to see South Africa’s rankings improve,” says executive director Bernard Swanepoel.

“#SMEIndaba discussions – involving some of the people thinking hardest about South Africa’s economic challenges – are designed to elicit tangible ideas to advance some of what the surveys rank, especially when they benefit small businesses” he says.

SMEs disproportionately bear the burdens of excessive, costly, and changing regulations; experience devastating knocks to their cash flow when big businesses and government delay paying invoices; and suffer the consequences of poor local economic planning and service delivery.

“By easing the many challenges of doing business for SMEs, we will activate the entire economy,” said Swanepoel.

According to the World Bank, 115 governments launched 294 reforms to address constraints to building more successful economies in the past year. Sub-Sahara African countries enacted 73; South Africa is credited with implementing only two.

“If we are serious about employment creation, growing an inclusive economy, and trying to attract foreign investment we need to accelerate both policy reforms and implementation,” says Swanepoel.

He points to India’s 98-point reform plan developed in 2014 and its subsequent Ease of Doing Business Committee in Parliament which provides recommendations on how to implement the plans.

“People say the difference between success and failure is patience,” says Swanepoel, “but impatience, along with some courage, is what helps most entrepreneurs succeed. Let’s encourage a more entrepreneurial state.”

Details of the SBI #SMEIndaba are as follows:

– November 7 2019
– Bryanston Country Club
– 8:30 – 14:30

Speakers include:

Keynote 1: Marnus Broodryk, CEO and founder of sme.africa and The Beancounter

Panel One: Municipalities and their role in local economies – facilitators, or inhibitors?
Moderator: Lumkile Mondi, Economist and SBI Director

– Professor Daniel Plaatjies, Chairman Finance and Fiscal Commission
— Dr. Tracy Ledger, Head of Research at the Public Affairs Research institute
— Charles Parkerson, Director, Economic Development at Salga
—- Ntsieni Mbulungeni, Chairman, Thulamela Business Forum
—– Pieter Els, Soutpansberg Chamber of Business and Tourism

Keynote 2: Dr. Thabi Leoka, Economist; SBI Director; Member of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Economic Advisory Council

Panel Two: The elephants still in the room – late payments and red tape
Moderator: Qaanitah Hunter, Sunday Times political reporter

– Sanele Kunene, SARS’ Acting Executive of Taxpayer Strategy in Small Business and VAT
— Adamou Labara, Country Director International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group
— John Peters, Chief Director, Integrated Economic Development Services, Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism
—- Theo Botha, Shareholder activist
—– Mbofholowo Tsedu, Senior Economist at Trade & Industry Policy Strategies

Conversation: How small businesses organise outside of traditional chamber structures.
Moderator: Bernard Swanepoel, entrepreneur and executive director at SBI

– Bulelani Balabala, Township Entrepreneurs’ Alliance
— Ntsieni Mbulungeni, Chairman, Thulamela Business Forum

Panel Three: Entrepreneurs – turning challenges into opportunities
Moderator: David Morobe, Executive General Manager Impact Investing, Business Partners

– Bulelani Balabala, Township Entrepreneurs’ Alliance
— Leeko Makoene, Founder, Made with Rural
— Duncan Barker, Founder, Vaai.co
—- Adri Williams: Director, Khayelitsha Cookies