A 75-year-old, not-for-profit organisation

A Member of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA)

Constituted to promote the economic and business interest of its more than 100 chamber organisation members and thousands of SMEs in the wider economy. 

Stands for sustainable, market-led job creation, inclusive economic growth, transformation and ethical leadership 

Positioned as the Big Voice for Small Business

More than 95% of registered businesses in the world are small in size, employing fewer than 250 people and account for 60%-70% of the entire working population. Not in South Africa. That should worry us and we need to change that.
To create employment for over nine million unemployed people, policy makers and regulators must support in practice, an enabling environment for SME to grow and flourish. We must engage on potential solutions in open discussions using facts and evidence
SBI stands for a free-market approach to grow SMEs, create jobs, and provide ethical leadership. We envision a country where small- and medium-sized businesses are supported by thoughtful, evidence-based policy that limits obstacles to their success and sustainability and the private sector works to eliminate structural obstacles to competition, access to markets and effective entry into supply chains.
We advocate for policy makers and big businesses to ‘think small first’. We lobby for government to consider and support SME sustainability in legislation, regulation and procurement policies. Our campaigns include big businesses where SME-supportive supply chain management and payment terms contribute to a thriving sector.

2017 in review
The organisation spent 2017 envisioning a role to give it more relevance, visibility and impact. SBI has laid the groundwork for a more noticeable presence – in the media (social and traditional), with its core constituency and ultimately with policy makers. The board restructured the organisation to ensure financial sustainability and its resources will be deployed in line with the new vision.

SBI held five Indabas around the country and participated in panel discussions hosted by other organisations. Influential role-players delivered keynote addresses to SBI’s members, including former Deputy Finance Minister, Mcebisi Jonas, BUSA CEO Tanya Cohen, Corruption Watch’s David Lewis, DSBD DG Edith Vries, Magda Wierzycka, Mosiuoa Lekota and Business Leadership South Africa CEO Bonang Mohale as well as presidential contenders Matthews Phosa and Zweli Mkhize.

Panels exploring the political economy included editors, political analysts, economists and academics. Inspiring entrepreneurs reminded us that challenges are overcome with the right attitude and aptitude. Each Indaba was covered by television, digital and print reporters. In addition, newspapers and digital platforms promoted SBI opinion pieces and press statements throughout the year. Various television and radio stations interviewed the president and the CEO on a regular basis and we grew our social media followers by nearly six fold.

The organisation has registered a new Memorandum of Incorporation to entrench proper governance and is raising funds to ensure its sustainability. In addition, SBI signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the SBP (www.sbp.org.za) to collaborate. SBP is a not for profit company specialising in developing policy and conducting innovative research to improve the enabling environment for doing business, especially small business as vehicles for growth and job creation, since 1998. Together we will undertake research and track relevant data to spearhead a new movement for small business in South Africa at this critical time in our country’s history.

The year ahead
In 2018, SBI will continue on this path to become the authoritative voice of the small and medium business sector in South Africa on issues relevant to inclusive economic growth, transformation and job creation and to:

• advocate on all regulatory issues pertaining to small businesses with special emphasis on the management and reduction of red tape and opening up access to markets;
• facilitate the provision of value-adding services to all its members to meet their respective identified needs; and

• initiate, fund and facilitate key research projects that will act as a platform from which evidence-based advocacy can be performed, including South Africa’s first authoritative baseline study of SMEs;

• continue to participate in discussions and debates, host national Indabas as well as initiating Town Hall meetings in rural and township areas and youth outreach events. A new board has been constituted to drive the strategy of the SBI. Individuals with appropriate skills were invited to join the newly transformed board. Each director will be matched with an appropriate portfolio to ensure both clarity and accountability. Directors will be paid a small stipend to cover expenses and will be allocated paid interns to assist with the work of their portfolios, which include:

• President and Chamber Liaison• Chairman, Board co-ordination and Public Relations• Deputy to Chairman and President• Research and Advocacy• Communications• Government Liaison• BUSA Representation• Corporate Member Relations• Entrepreneurship and Youth• Sectoral Co-ordinator• Finance Other volunteers will oversee:• The Desk of Expertise• Provincial Organisations• The Junior Mining sector• Events and conferencing• General administration. 

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Contact us:
Tel: 012 348 5440
Email: leandre@smallbusinessinstitute.co.za

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