The SME sector, specifically those businesses that have a turn-over of between 10 and 50 million, employ the highest number of people and are certainly the backbone of our struggling economy right now. What or how do we assist this segment of the market? What are the issues that they are currently facing – other than the ongoing issues of electricity supply. How do they move forward and reignite their growth strategies.
We connected with South African Growth Strategist, Diane Boorman and asked her these questions and what is available for this market segment and how she can assist and get them back on track for sales, growth and expansion. Diane Boorman is an entrepreneur, has started, grown, expanded and sold many businesses. She now works with the SME (not start-ups) sector where their current turnovers is more that R10 million annually.
SMEs are the lifeblood of South Africa’s economy — and also the most at risk. SMEs across South Africa represent more than 98 percent of businesses, employ between 50 and 60 percent of the country’s workforce across all sectors, and are responsible for a quarter of job growth in the private sector. And while the GDP contributions from South Africa’s SMEs lag other regions — 39 percent compared to 57 percent in the EU—there is no doubt that this sector is a critical engine of the economy
SMEs in South Africa face distinct challenges:
- Limited access to low- and medium-cost funding is constraining business growth
- Even when funding is available, low awareness of opportunities and a lack of financial knowledge remain major barriers to SMEs accessing the required support
- Slowing demand has led to SMEs having to limit expansion plans and identify alternative channels to sell products
- Accessing the right markets in order to sell products
- Owners and founders struggle to empower staff to lead and drive the business
- Liquidity and cash flow management are limited