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A lack of contact with established entrepreneurs is a major threat to the success and growth of new entrepreneurs, particularly youth and women entrepreneurs. The 2016/2017 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor recommends building support structures that enable entrepreneurs to access advice and mentorship.
Creating opportunities for SMMEs to connect with great advice is the focus of Old Mutual as sponsor of the Cape Media SMME Opportunity Roadshow. According to Zizipho Nyanga, CEO of the Old Mutual Masisizane Fund, providing SMMEs with access to sound advice is as important as providing access to funding, and greater attention needs to be given to this aspect of SMME development.
“Many small businesses fail to cross initial hurdles because they operate in isolation. Access to sound advice can help entrepreneurs navigate the challenging environment within which they operate. Our business demonstrates how partnering with seasoned financial professionals helps South Africans achieve their financial goals. The same principle applies to entrepreneurs: partnering with experienced advisers can help them take their business to the next level.”
Sipelo Lupondwana, co-founder and CEO of Mancotech and a beneficiary of the Old Mutual Masisizane Fund, says that the value of access to business networks is immense.
“Mentorship and advice has played a big part in Mancotech’s success. It helped us identify and evaluate new opportunities. It also helped us move our business forward through encouragement and support,” says Lupondwana.
Lupondwana is a keynote speaker at the upcoming Cape Media SMME Opportunity Roadshow in Port Elizabeth, where he will share some of his best advice on how SMMEs can grow their businesses.
“Platforms like the SMME Roadshow expose entrepreneurs to new networks and opportunities and, importantly, give us access to the strategies and tried-and-tested solutions of fellow entrepreneurs, and the insights of professional financial advisers,” he added.
Nyanga believes entrepreneurs need a holistic offering that addresses all their needs – as a business, an individual and employer. “This is why Old Mutual is working on building an Entrepreneurship and Job Creation ecosystem that will ensure entrepreneurs can easily access a wide range of support as well as quality financial education and advice,” she says.
“As a responsible business, supporting entrepreneurs is a priority for us. The SMME sector has the potential to drive significant inclusive growth in South Africa, and by facilitating its growth we are helping to reduce unemployment, poverty and inequality, and enabling meaningful and sustainable socioeconomic transformation.”