The Johannesburg Stock Exchange recently launched a programme to ramp up its support for SMME development. It has embarked on an initiative in which coaching sessions are available for SMMEs until November. The first of three sessions took place on 16 February. It focused on how to distinguish and market a business. The second session, which looks at financial health and financing a business, will be hosted between May and July.
The third and session will focus on managing a growing business and will be held between September and November. The sessions are hosted on YouTube, and participants and coaches can engage via live questions-and-answers on the chatbox. Cleola Kunene, who heads up SME Development at the JSE, told Vutivi News that there was significant insight from the first session on how to bounce back from failure and build a sustainable business.
The coaches who facilitated the training were Lwazi Capital MD Ntombi Mehlomakulu and Joe Public United founding partner Pepe Marais. “The topic for the session… was on marketing, with a strong focus on increasing market access, developing sustainable brands, cost-effective marketing and advertising solutions,” she said. “Furthermore, it unpacked finding and tangibly serving, growing and retaining a company’s client base.”
Kunene also said that SMMEs which wanted to participate in the sessions needed to be poised for growth and have an appetite to give back to the South African entrepreneurial ecosystem. “Through this programme, the JSE also aims to contribute to the country’s transformation agenda,” she pointed out. Kunene said the speed coaching sessions complemented the JSE Enterprise Acceleration Programme, which was launched last year to help grow companies with a turnover of R20-million.
Its aim was to support medium enterprises that were primed for accelerated growth and to scale up through growing market share, accessing funding and improving their competitiveness. “The nine-month programme has started with a cohort of 12 companies (which will be) provided with a high-quality, high-impact training to help them grow their market share, access funding and improve their competitiveness,” she said.
Kunene said the JSE understood the crucial role SMMEs played in driving economic growth. The JSE’s alternative exchange (AltX), which is a parallel market and was launched in 2003, provides smaller companies with a springboard onto the JSE Main Board with a clear growth path and access to capital. “With sufficient support and access to funding, SMMEs can directly improve social upliftment, drive job creation as well as address skills enhancement and digital progression for South Africa,” she said.