According to the Mastercard SME Index, six in 10 SMMEs in South Africa anticipate growth and are planning for the future. Leaders from the small business community have welcomed the results of the index as they reveal the resilience and flexibility of SMMEs in trying times.
It surveyed 300 SMMEs in South Africa between April and May this year. The index revealed that 79% of them were projecting that their earnings would either hold steady or grow in the next year, and 58% of the participants identified upskilling staff as the area that offered the highest growth potential for their businesses.
National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (Nafcoc) Makhosana Siphengane said that small business owners always took calculated risks. “As entrepreneurs, they are always robust and positive that things will change for the better and for the future,” he said.
“We are optimistic that things will change for the better, but there has to be a focus on access to markets. If an SMME has no access to markets and procurement opportunities, this growth will be stunted.” Siphengane also welcomed the finding that 53% of the SMMEs contributed their growth to digitisation, calling on the government to meet SMMEs halfway.
“Currently we are migrating into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and we have a challenge in South Africa in terms of expensive data,” he said.
“Less than 60% of our data is still in analog, so it is important that our government must invest more in Information and Communication Technology, and these services are crucial for SMMEs to integrate into the digital way of conducting business.” National Union of Municipal Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Albert Jeleni also welcomed the findings, saying that generally, SMMEs were able to survive disasters because they could business models.
“Bigger companies take steps like retrenchments, whereas if an SMME sees an opportunity tomorrow, they can pivot and switch. The pandemic presented opportunities for SMMEs: some were able to manufacture sanitisers and masks, and some were able to transition to the digital age,” he said.
“There are many opportunities in the future for SMMEs. It’s only a matter of creating an enabling environment for them.” Mastercard South Africa manager Suzanne Morel said that it was encouraging to see how SMMEs were transforming the way they did business.
They were benefitting from the secure technology and convenient payments solutions that were shaping commerce. “SMMEs in South Africa continues to demonstrate strength and agility, despite Covid-19 where they have had to navigate lockdowns, restricted supply chains and the changing habits of an evolving consumer,” she also said.