The South African Informal Traders Alliance (SAITA) has called on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s (JSE) top companies to partner with SMMEs and informal businesses to boost the sector. SAITA also wants the JSE’s top 100 companies to join hands with SMMEs and informal traders to create one million jobs.
According to SAITA’s communication manager, Louise Silver, micro and informal businesses contributed a third of all jobs in South Africa. “The informal sector is arguably the largest employer in the country, yet it has very little resources to be able to perform functions like advertising and marketing,” Silvers told Vutivi News. “The president, in his State of the Nation Address earlier this year, reminded us that government can only create the climate for employment and economic growth, but that the actual work is done in the formal and informal sector.
“Since the unemployment figures have climbed drastically over the last two years, we have also seen an increase in the number of people that have started informal businesses to put bread on the table,” she also said. Silver said that SAITA, which was the official voice for over two million micro and informal businesses, was specifically looking for corporate entities to support it with general marketing.
This included the development and implementation of a marketing strategy, design expertise, digital and traditional advertising and media-buying capabilities. “Being able to use marketing channels the formal sector takes for granted will breathe fresh air into the sector,” she told Vutivi News. “Formal businesses will also learn about this sector in ways that research companies would not be able to address.
“While this may seem like a small ask from corporate South Africa, and especially the JSE’s top 100 companies, securing this support for our jobs campaign, called Project204, will have a profound and deeply-meaningful impact on our ability to jointly create one million micro and informal sector jobs for our country,” she also said. SAITA was appealing to these companies is to think differently about how they spend their corporate social investment budgets. “People who run informal or micro-businesses are inherently motivated to succeed,” she said.
“They are hard-working self-starters who, with the appropriate training, skills development and business environment, can play a larger, more valuable role in the economy. “When they succeed, they create jobs and ease the burden on the state, especially where it concerns grants,” she pointed out. The jobs initiative already has support from some companies such as Absa and Vodacom. Earlier this year the JSE launched a programme to ramp up its support for SMME development through a series of coaching sessions, which included marketing.