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Preview: South African Small Business News

South African Small Business News

News from the South African small business sector, of interest to small business owners and entrepreneurs in South Africa.

Published: Tue, 5 Sep 2006 17:05:18 +0100

Last Build Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2006 17:06:38 +0100


Why are we still seeing headlines like this one?

Tue, 5 Sep 2006 17:05:18 +0100

I'm constantly amazed that we still see so many article and newspaper heading affirming the role of woman in business. For many years now woman have been playing a major role nor only in business but also as entrepreneur and small business owners. Most traditional gender barriers have been made taboo by woman simply not allowing themselves to be held back by the traditional limitations set for them. Perhaps now its time to focus column inches on celebrating the successes achieved.

My comments follows this article in the The Herald On line:

Women do have a place in business

DESPITE women constituting more than 50% of the world‘s population, in no country do they represent half of the managers or the owners of businesses.

South Africa's struggle for International Internet Bandwidth Continues

Tue, 5 Sep 2006 17:04:18 +0100

It seems that the current high prices paid for internet connections and data transfers in South Africa will be with us for some time to come.

Rebecca Harrison reports from JHB
Deputy Minister of Communications Radhakrishna Padayachie told an Internet conference the existing SAT-3 submarine cable linking West Africa to the rest of the world and a planned cable around the east of the continent were insufficient to meet the broadband requirements of Africa's biggest economy.

SA entrepreneurs still not capitalizing on mobile tech

Tue, 5 Sep 2006 17:04:03 +0100

Despite the rapid progress made by entrepreneurs in the US, UK, India and Australia, for some reason South African entrepreneurs have not yet found the recipe for taking advantage of recent advances in mobile technology.

Tectonic, a website that focuses on the tech industry in SA reports:

Small businesses in South Africa are struggling to get to grips with advanced new mobile technologies, despite the advantages they offer. This is according to new research findings from World Wide Worx.

Small Business Summit Coming to South Africa

Fri, 28 Jul 2006 09:04:05 +0100

Good news for small businesses in South Africa following the announcement by SEDA that there will be a small business summit between a number of developing countries in Durban later in the year.

Thapelo Sakoana reports from Pretoria

South Africa is to host a ground breaking summit on small business development in Durban next month as part of the trilateral co-operation it has with Brazil and India.

SA Small Business Must Get its Share of 2010 World Cup

Fri, 28 Jul 2006 09:03:38 +0100

There has been much talk around the opportunities for regeneration provided by the 2010 world cup in South Africa. Nowhere is this a more viable proposition than in the small business sector, both at a formal and informal level. Thousands of would be entrepreneurs and business owners are already coming up with ideas, products and schemes of how to take advantage of the influx of sports fans and media coverage that the 2010 world cup will bring. It is evident from the report below that the government does have this issue on its agenda, so lets hope that this opportunity benefits the SA people where its most needed.

Cape Town Small Business Week

Fri, 28 Jul 2006 09:03:07 +0100

This August sees the return of the annual Small Business week coming to Cape Town in South Africa. This popular event, organised by The City of Cape Town and the Provincial Government of the Western Cape, sees thousands of entrepreneurs, small business owners and companies serving small business gather in the beautiful surroundings of Cape Town and Table mountain.

One organisation that exhibits at Small Business Week, South African Business Hub,, says that it is the ideal event for entrepreneurs to meet. Said Ben Botes, head of e-commerce at SA Business Hub, “with the small business industry really booming in South Africa and entrepreneurs from all industries and walks of life being at these type of events, it’s the ideal place for us to find out more about our customers and for them to find out more about how we can support them.”

Funds Still Biggest BEE Start-Up Obstacle

Sat, 22 Jul 2006 16:45:45 +0100

The issue of start-up finance just seems to not want to go away. With small business and entrepreneurship offering such huge potential to help solve issues such as job creation, foreign investment and an increase is the national GDP, why don't more big businesses, banks and VC's get involved in solving this ongoing challenge?

SA Entrepreneur: Always looking for a new challenge

Sat, 22 Jul 2006 16:44:14 +0100

It may be typical to many entrepreneurs I have come across to always be up for another or bigger challenge. As one of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs turns 40, Andrew Rolfe is only now getting into his stride:

BEE Boost for Small Business On the Way

Wed, 19 Jul 2006 12:39:31 +0100

A welcome boost for small and family run companies on the way as the governemnd ammends a key section of the Companies Act.

Resilience and Entrepreneurship in South African Townships

Wed, 19 Jul 2006 12:38:27 +0100

A brilliant case of determination, resilience and entrepreneurship that's helping South Africans in the townships to help themselves. Please let us know if you know of any similar cases and businesses.

End is in sight for South Africa's rip-off banks

Tue, 18 Jul 2006 12:37:47 +0100

With the recent launch of Virgin Money bank in SA, entrepreneurs and consumers alike will be looking at this move to end the rip of culture that South African banks have made accepted every day practice. Few of us have not experienced the frustration helplessness of your bank telling that this is how it is and their are no alternatives. These shameful practices that can only be compared to the big Telkom rip-off that cost small business dearly on a daily basis. Lets hope that the end of poor and expensive banking services will become extinct sooner rater then later.

Cheap internet for SA Business owners around the corner

Tue, 18 Jul 2006 12:31:19 +0100

In a move that will be welcomed by business owners around the country, Microsoft and MTN has created a partnership to finally do something about the terrible disadvantage SA Business owners face due to the current lack of a low cost internet infrastructure in South Africa.

Banking and Mobile Communications Behind SME Competitiveness

Mon, 17 Jul 2006 12:26:39 +0100

Mobile communications and banking services are emerging as two of the most important factors behind the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises in South Africa.

According to the interim findings of SME Survey 2006, the fourth annual study of SME competitiveness, released following the study of 6,000 decision-makers reaching its halfway mark, government support programmes continue to rank rock bottom among a wide range of factors.

The study breaks competitiveness for SMEs down into four elements identified through academic research, namely ability to increase profits, to increase turnover, to reduce costs and to win and retain clients.

South African Small Business: Help is Missing Where It Matters Most

Mon, 17 Jul 2006 12:25:59 +0100

The SA government has realized and confirmed what we as entrepreneurs have been saying for a few years now. It seems that plenty of money and support is provided by the government but its not reaching ground root levels. How many small business owners that you know have benefited from the governments many initiatives? Its time to provide more money and other resources to entrepreneurs at the sharp end and less on the many levels of bureaucracy that's been soaking up most of the money provided thus far.

BEE beyond black elite with new codes

Wed, 5 Jul 2006 09:35:13 +0100

Kevin O’Grady

Economics Editor

THE days of high-profile black businessmen representing faceless members of “broad-based” groups in empowerment deals are numbered.

Following the release yesterday by government of the final codes of good practice for black empowerment, broad-based schemes, which are integral to many empowerment deals, will have to comply with strict criteria in order for the transactions in which they are involved to be recognised.

The new rules will go some way towards answering questions that have been asked of certain empowerment deals, in which established businessmen claim to represent broad groupings of black individuals without identifying the beneficiaries.

Branding with BEE

Tue, 4 Jul 2006 09:34:47 +0100

Companies applying an empowerment component tend to seek public relations kudos for doing so, rather than entering into an empowerment contract in the spirit of transformation, skills enrichment and company-building.
Groovin Nchabalang, CEO of advertising and communications firm Blueprint, says that BEE can be used positively and persuasively as part of the company branding exercise and should be viewed as an important development not only for the good of the country, but also as a marketing tool to increase sales.

BEE top of SA companies' agenda

Mon, 3 Jul 2006 09:34:11 +0100

South African business owners report a 19 percentage point increase in the importance of black economic empowerment (BEE) in winning business, according to consulting firm Grant Thornton's International Business Owners Survey 2006.

According to Grant Thornton, 70% of South African business owners interviewed in the 2006 survey indicated that black empowerment was a key issue for them in winning business - up from 61% in 2005 and 51% in 2003.

Urgent need for clarity on BEE codes in SA

Sun, 2 Jul 2006 09:31:53 +0100

According to the business day there is a urgent from small business in South Africa to have BEE codes clarified. With so much confusion and red tape already taking up much valuable time and effort in small businesses, this is the least that can be provided:


SOUTH African business wants a speedy finalization of the black economic empowerment codes of good practice to provide clarity on implementation of broad-based empowerment, says Business Unity SA (Busa) CEO Jerry Vilakazi.

New generation starting up with less capital

Sun, 2 Jul 2006 09:31:19 +0100

Not only improvement is IT but also the dramatic improvement in IT infrastructure in first world countries is making it possible for entrepreneurs to start up with less capital then ever before. Surely the improvement and afford-ability of the internet and faster connections speeds should now be an priority for the SA government if they really want to be seen to support small business and entrepreneurship in South Africa.

SA Entrepreneurial Flair Praised

Sat, 1 Jul 2006 09:30:42 +0100

A real feather in the cap of SA entrepreneurs was provided recently by Leonard Brody who believes that South Africans have great entrepreneurial flair.

According to a report:

Speaking at a forum at the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science, Brody compared the South African work ethic to that of Canada, and added that he believes that there is a “heritage of hard work” in South Africa

Entrepreneurship alive and well in the townships

Fri, 30 Jun 2006 09:29:10 +0100

Its great to see that entrepreneurship is alive and well in South African townships. Thanks to the use of technology and a generous sponsorship from MTN our fellow entrepreneurs now have high speed internet access on their doorstep. What a great opportunity to create lasting on line business networks support each other and grow together.


Entrepreneurs use HSDPA and EDGE to provide shared Internet access...

Have the prayers of small business owners been answered?

Thu, 29 Jun 2006 09:27:56 +0100

Posted Post subject


I cant remember when last I had a conversation with a South African small business owners when the word 'Bank' or 'Bank Charges' did not come up somewhere in the conversation. As apposed to countries like the US, UK and much of Europe where low banking costs and often free banking is the order of the day, banks on South Africa still seems to justify to themselves why they can charge small business owners astronomical bank charges whilst delivering a basic and often poor service. I would be surprised if there was anyone on this forum or elsewhere in South Africa who has a different experience and view of this - Ben:

Charlene Clayton reports

SA Small Business: Hungry for expertise and finance

Wed, 28 Jun 2006 09:27:17 +0100

According to a recent survey, the South African small business sector is in dire need of expertise and finance.

Greg Gordon reports from Johannesburg:

THE preliminary results are in for the fourth annual SME Survey, which sets out to evaluate factors that influence the competitiveness of small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa.

Chief among these is the strong demand among SMEs for access to skills, expertise and finance. According to the survey results so far, however, they are having difficulty finding this.

SME Survey is undertaken annually by World Wide Worx ...

Entrepreneurs there's R10 million up for grabs

Wed, 28 Jun 2006 09:27:01 +0100

With recent surveys confirming our views that much more finance is need for SA entrepreneurs, we celebrate the work done by Enablis in making R10 million available for the right business plans:

Enablis, the international non-profit entrepreneur development agency, has announced a call for entries in the 2006 FNB Enablis national business plan competition.

The competition is open to entrepreneurs with business ideas, as well as those wanting

New generation starting up with less capital

Wed, 21 Jun 2006 08:11:19 +0100

Not only improvement is IT but also the dramatic improvement in IT infrastructure in first world countries is making it possible for entrepreneurs to start up with less capital then ever before. Surely the improvement and afford-ability of the internet and faster connections speeds should now be an priority for the SA government if they really want to be seen to support small business and entrepreneurship in South Africa.

Large IT companies shift their focus to small business

Sun, 25 Jun 2006 07:38:27 +0100

It seems that More and more large companies not only in the IT sector but across the board are focusing their resources on the small business sector. This does not come as a surprise as small business really means big business if you can attract enough of it.

The following article appeared in the Business Day recently highlighting the economic importance of a strong small business sector in South Africa:

THE focus on small and medium enterprises (SME's) by information technology

African entrepreneurs side step finance gap

Sat, 24 Jun 2006 07:37:22 +0100

Finally some much needed financial support for African entrepreneurs, but will these resources be easily accessible by entrepreneurs on the ground or will it be another time and energy consuming process that only a select few who have already qualified for every other business support initiative there is because of who they know?

African ISP Is Dead! Long Live The African ISP!

Fri, 23 Jun 2006 07:36:18 +0100

What wil the future hold for Internet Service Providers in Africa and South Afirca?:

The African ISP runs the risk of becoming an endangered species. Most of them are small, undercapitalised businesses that exist in the rather tight margin between greedy incumbents and price sensitive customers.

The introduction of DSL broadband has shifted the power balance decisively against

Slow road to speedy internet

Thu, 22 Jun 2006 07:35:26 +0100

Surely by now Telkom and the SA government has realized that low cost ADSL will not only be a huge benefit to small business owners and consumers but also mean growth in the number of small business that are created. This in turn will mean increased profits for Telkom - so why the short sightedness from one of South Africa's largest and

A bit of perseverance goes a long way

Wed, 21 Jun 2006 07:34:40 +0100

So often when we hear of entrepreneurial success stories, it comes as no surprise that when we look a little deeper into the why and how, we quickly realize that perseverance and resilience were the order of the day especially during the early days of the business.

Cynthia Kar reports
Perseverance and a willingness to change helped an entrepreneur become a CEO and lower his handicap, ena.

Have the prayers of small business owners been answered?

Wed, 21 Jun 2006 07:34:17 +0100

I cant remember when last I had a conversation with a South African small business owners when the word 'Bank' or 'Bank Charges' did not come up somewhere in the conversation. As apposed to countries like the US, UK and much of Europe where low banking costs and often free banking is the order of the day, banks on South Africa still seems to justify to themselves why they can charge small business owners astronomical

Look After Your Intellectual Property Registration

Mon, 19 Jun 2006 19:32:08 +0100

It is Estimated That Only 10% of Intellectual Property Developed in SA is Registered Overseas, Despite a Scramble By the International Community to Protect Their Patents And Copyrights From Theft in theGlobal Village.

Copyright lawyer Owen Dean says the reason appears to be partly the financial constraints, particularly for inventors and small business, and partly ignorance.

Research shows that, unlike the US and other leading innovators, South African business tends to depend on the domestic patent system to secure local distribution and development rights over inventions from outside.

This means that SA often loses control of its intellectual property to foreigners, with consumers being forced to pay premium prices for products that were actually developed with local intellectual capital. Local companies lose out on an opportunity to exploit this product and bring in foreign capital.

'Small business key to SA's future'

Sun, 18 Jun 2006 19:31:30 +0100

To confirm what we have been saying since the beginning, CEO of the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), Arthur Arnold said in Johannesburg today the key to SA's economic future was the growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises.

He said medium-sized and small businesses created growth, jobs, stability and developed the middle class. "There can be no development unless you develop the medium and small sector," said Arnold.

FMO is the largest single investor in South Africa's first independent mezzanine fund manager, Vantage Risk Capital, announcing Thursday a 100 million rand investment in the Vantage Mezzanine Fund.

The foreign investment component in the fund will comprise some 30% of the fund's total

SA Businesswoman of the Year 2006: Award Finalists Announced

Sat, 17 Jun 2006 19:30:54 +0100

The Businesswoman’s Association sponsored Nedbank has announced six finalists for the coveted 2006 Businesswoman of the Year Award. Of the six, three finalists will be judged under the category of Corporate Businesswoman of the Year and the other three will be judged under the newly introduced Entrepreneurial Businesswoman of the Year.

“The Businesswoman’s Association honours South Africa’s top businesswomen through its Businesswoman of the Year Award. We are proud to have introduced a new category in this year’s awards, the Entrepreneurial businesswoman of the Year Award. So, 2006 will have both a Corporate and Entrepreneurial businesswoman of the year. The skills required to be effective in the corporate world and those required to be an entrepreneur are vastly different and we will be acknowledging those attributes in the 2006 Awards,” says Businesswoman’s Association CEO, Ms Tina Thomson

SABMiller Commits $2.5 million to Small Business in Africa

Fri, 16 Jun 2006 19:30:22 +0100

SABMiller has announced that it will commit $2.5 million over a five year period to the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF).

The ICF, launched at the just-ended Africa World Economic Forum in Cape Town, South Africa is an innovative public-private partnership aimed at making Africa a better place in which to do business.

”SABMiller believes that the ICF is an important initiative which will help African countries create business environments which will encourage international investment and generate sustainable business opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Mr Graham Mackay, Chief Executive of SABMiller.

With brewing interests in 29 African countries, including a controlling stake in Ghana’s Accra Breweries Limited, SABMiller has an established track record of empowering and supporting the creation of local businesses and contributing to the development of the business environment in the countries in which it operates

The Long awaited Africa internet cable 'by 2007'

Thu, 15 Jun 2006 19:29:49 +0100

Some much needed good news for ecommerce business owners and online consumers:

Organisers behind a submarine cable that could slash Africa's internet costs believe the project will be finished by the end of 2007 despite stakeholder squabbling and a threat by powerful Kenya to go it alone.
John Paul Bagiire, a member of the project management committee for the plan to link East Africa to the rest of the world, said tenders had been issued and construction would start in the third quarter of this year.

Moneyweb interview with Bill Lynch

Wed, 14 Jun 2006 19:29:14 +0100

Very interesting interview with Bill Lynch, SA entrepreneur of the year, conducted by Alec Hogg from Moneyweb:

Interviewed by Alec Hogg

MONEYWEB: The World Entrepreneur Awards are up next, and joining us on the telephone is Bill Lynch, who is South Africa’s Entrepreneur of the Year for 2006, heading off next week to Monaco where he is going to take on the counterparts, other Entrepreneurs of the Year, from 30 other countries. Bill, have you been to Monte Carlo before?

BILL LYNCH: No, I haven’t – I’m not a gambler, Alec.

MONEYWEB: Well, I guess you’re going

Unit stands surety for entrepreneurs

Tue, 13 Jun 2006 19:28:43 +0100

Unit stands surety for entrepreneurs SA IS encouraging small business development and fostering black economic empowerment. However, all too often new entrants lack the track record needed to satisfy potential clients.

Loni Mamatela, senior account manager in the international finance department at the IDC, says performance guarantees are proving very useful for smaller companies that often lack the track record of some of their better-established counterparts.

In SA it has become common practice for newer, smaller entrepreneurs to win tenders, often in construction, and the company calling for bids will require that a performance guarantee is furnished to convince the corporation that the contract will be fulfilled appropriately, he says.

SA small businesses attracted by tax amnesty

Mon, 12 Jun 2006 19:28:24 +0100

This certainly seems like an attractive offer from the government especially if you as a small business owner have neglected your tax duties for a few years. Is the anyone amongst us who is going for this and can tell us a bit more of your experience?


More than 100000 small businesses are expected to take advantage of a tax amnesty even though they will have to pay 10% of their 2004-05 taxable income as a penalty for not having paid tax previously.

The amnesty, announced by Finance Minister Trevor Manuel earlier this year, takes effect from August 1, and will last until May 31 next year. It is aimed at broadening the tax net, and will apply to all “improperly declared, undeclared or unpaid” tax amounts arising before April 1 2004.

No Free Money for SA Small Businesses

Wed, 31 May 2006 17:48:03 +0100

SOUTH African Revenue Services Commissioner Pravin Gordhan says government is concerned about the growth of small businesses and is doing everything to ensure the sector expands.

Tourism's BEE scorecard launched

Wed, 31 May 2006 17:47:30 +0100

A Black Economic Empowerment scorecard for the tourism industry was introduced in Pretoria on Monday.

The scorecard forms part of a BEE Charter which aims to include black people in the tourism industry and make it more globally competitive.

Business owners beware bogus chambers of commerce

Wed, 31 May 2006 17:47:10 +0100

The Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce on Monday issued a warning to the public about bogus business chambers established to "milk" cash out of them

South Africa's wireless future

Mon, 29 May 2006 11:38:21 +0100

South Africa is to focus on less costly wireless networks as it moves to roll out a broadband infrastructure across the country that is "robust enough" to cater for all socio-economic, business and research needs.

Telkom Defends Monthly Charges for On line Services

Mon, 29 May 2006 11:37:51 +0100

When will the South African government realize or act on the fact that Telkom's high prises are suffocating the development and growth of small ecommerce businesses in South Africa?

BEE fuel for SA’s roaring engine

Mon, 29 May 2006 11:37:19 +0100

SA’s drive to bring the long-excluded majority of its people into the mainstream of its economic life is paying healthy dividends. It is pushing the growth rate — nearly 5% last year — on to a higher trajectory. It has helped the 12-year-old democracy move ahead of India as a destination for foreign direct investment. It was a factor in the 47% total return on equities traded on the JSE last year.

Broadly defined, the black economic empowerment strategy hammered out between
government and business is helping fuel an economic and social revolution as millions start to enjoy disposable income and upward mobility for the first time. This is making SA an exciting place to do business and one that holds the promise of long-term stability.

SEB-vereistes vir klein sake

Mon, 29 May 2006 11:36:39 +0100

Die departement van handel en nywerheid het op 20 Desember verlede jaar die sogenaamde tweedefase-konsepkodes uitgereik vir kommentaar, en daarmee saam meer lig gewerp op onder meer die rol van familie-ondernemings en klein sake binne die konteks van swart ekonomiese bemagtiging (SEB).

Ingevolge die kodes word voorgestel op welke wyse verskeie aspekte soos kwalifiserende klein sake, frontentiteite, multinasionale ondernemings, art. 21-maatskappye en ander aangeleenthede behartig moet word.

Ondernemings word in drie groepe verdeel: mikro-ondernemings, kwalifiserende klein ondernemings en groot ondernemings. Die drie soorte kan as volg geïdentifiseer word:

Small business Tax amnesty for South African Business Owners

Wed, 24 May 2006 18:53:03 +0100

The first phase of small business tax amnesty announced by Finance Minister Trevor Manuel in February has been extended to all small businesses and not just taxi owners.

Business Angels in South Africa: Let them do their job

Wed, 24 May 2006 18:52:15 +0100

SINCE 1994, the South African government has invested significant political capital in the support of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This is because SMEs are recognised as key contributors to both growth and employment, contributing 30% of the country’s gross domestic product and almost 70% of private-sector employment. Government intervention in this sector has included the provision of wholesale finance and nonfinancial support services.

SA Small businesses must seize opportunities

Wed, 24 May 2006 18:51:40 +0100

Durban's small, medium and micro business could have benefited more from the weekend's Absa Cup final - when thousands of soccer fans from around South Africa and neighbouring countries descended on the city - and other off-season, crowd-pulling events, if they were better organised, officials have said.

SA needs more venture capital.

Wed, 24 May 2006 18:50:50 +0100

Following the articles bellow, I would like to through my vote and support behind venture firms in South Africa.. We really do need more of you. Can we really expect foreign investment of we are not prepared to invest ourselves..?

South African Small Business: Numbers soar

Mon, 22 May 2006 16:34:02 +0100

From this recent article it seems evident that entrepreneurship and small business is alive and well in South Africa. Any Family owned business owners amongst us here?


Mon, 22 May 2006 16:33:03 +0100

Broad based black economic empowerment legislation has had a significant and far-reaching effect on corporate South Africa since its 2003 promulgation. Hundreds of deals, some valued in the billions of Rands have been struck in the intervening years, and BEE compliance has become a set standard for business in this country.

Technology solutions for SA small businesses

Mon, 22 May 2006 16:31:49 +0100

The Department of Science and Technology's technology stations program offers small businesses access to the technology and innovation resources of South Africa's universities.

SA Entrepreneurs Given Chance for Makeover

Mon, 22 May 2006 16:30:43 +0100

Entrepreneurs in the cosmetics industry in South Africa are receiving a welcome makeover according to Business Day:

Tax Incentives for Investing in SA SMEs

Mon, 22 May 2006 16:27:28 +0100

Another writer has come out strongly in support of providing tax incentives for companies investing in SME's. Similar incentives have been implemented with great effect in the USA and UK and would be a welcome support for entrepreneurs in South Africa.