Ricochet News

Market access vital for South Africa's SME growth

MAY 28, 2015
Market access vital for South Africa's SME growth

Limited market access is one of the fundamental barriers to South Africa’s attempts to boost small and medium enterprises (SME), according to Heather Lowe, head of enterprise development at FNB Business.

“South Africa’s approach to SME development needs to go beyond providing funding and early-stage mentorship. The country needs to find ways to help SMEs gain access into various markets and form part of the broader supply chain," said Lowe.

"We have a number of successful industries and each should play a major role in promoting SME development.”

She explained that enabling SMEs to actively participate in the supply chain of major industries will contribute to building sustainable small businesses, which could then become larger enterprises.

However, she emphasised that both public and private sectors need to find the best approach to achieving this as corporate entities will need service delivery guarantees.

Earlier this month, the Small Business Development Ministry stated that it intends to offer both financial and non-financial support to accelerate the development of the country’s small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) sector.

The department indicated its willingness to work with the private sector in rolling out some of its programmes.
“It will be important to foster partnerships which transcend funding because access to market will determine the longevity of small businesses. Even though we should continue to advocate the establishment of more enterprises, we should be doing even more to ensure that the ones which are currently operating remain in business," said Lowe.

"This will give the country a solid foundation for economic growth and job creation.”

In 2014, FNB introduced its supplier development programme as part of the Vumela initiative. The initiative incentivises corporate entities to integrate small businesses into their supply chain. The programme also funds SMEs to help them become consistent and reliable suppliers.