Small Business Connect was at the DTI’s National SMME Summit held in Mpumalanga recently.
Here business owners had the opportunity to ask questions and raise important challenges they face.
The common challenges highlighted were access to retail shelf space with large retailers, not having time to manage different aspects of the business and access to funding.
“Every time we go to the IDC for funding, they have changed their policies and their priority sectors,” said one young female entrepreneur. “The last time I went to apply for funding for my business, they told me they will only fund manufacturing. I am not in manufacturing but I can still create jobs. Just the transport to go to all these agencies to apply is costing me a lot of money.”
Joshua Mngomezulu, based in Mpumalanga,started Barocco Paving in 2010 and employs 8 people. He proudly displays an album of photographs showing high-quality paving in creative patterns.
“I am trying to get a contract from Cashbuild to supply them with paving, but I need funding to do that. If I got it, I could employ up to 30 people,” he said. Joshua trains his staff himself and considers himself a paving expert. “But if I cannot grow this business, I am going to look at opening a Builder’s Warehouse in this area as a franchise,” he says.
Iris Conochie started her skincare cosmetics business in 2009 because none of the usual products helped with her skin. Today she has an impressive-looking range called Conoché, using a unique omega oil formula. She received help from incubators Sasol Chemcity and eGoli Bio.
“My biggest challenge is to try and sell to the retail chains,” she says. She has tried Woolworths, Edgars and Clicks, among others, but so far not one retailer will give her a listing.
“At least Clicks gave me valuable feedback – they told me exactly what containers and bottles I should use to make the product more shelf-friendly, and how to improve branding.”
These are just some challenges faced by businesses.We hope that what we offer in Small Business Connect will help make this sector the driver of economic growth it can be.
Martin Feinstein, Strategic Partnerships Director
087 150 4710