JOHANNESBURG - Local entrepreneurs have been given an opportunity to showcase and promote their businessses on an electronic street billboard for free. This comes as  South African Breweries (SAB) constructed the billboard to create awareness around Global Entrepreneurship Month.

SAB is offering small and medium businesses (SMME’s) free advertising on the billboard beginning 10 November until early December 2017. The entrepreneur’s business name, business service description and contact details will be featured on the billboard and looped over the duration, providing the opportunity to increase visibility of their business and business opportunities.   
 
The billboard, constructed using 3 360 light bulbs at a cost of more than R1.2-million, will be visible when driving down Jan Smuts Avenue, towards Johannesburg, one of Johannesburg’s most traffic-dense areas. The billboard has the potential to be seen by approximately 5 500 people per day and more than 1.3-million people per month.  
 
Measuring 3 metres by 12 metres, the billboard will feature over 5 000 entrepreneur’s businesses, the vast majority being SMME’s, many of which have never had the opportunity to advertise their business on this scale.
 
“SAB has been actively involved in encouraging entrepreneurship in South Africa and supporting small to medium businesses, particularly youth owned businesses, for more than 20 years. Through our interaction with entrepreneurs and a multitude of experts in the area of entrepreneurship, we have a good handle on the many challenges faced by entrepreneurs and how to help overcome these.
 
“One of these challenges is the ability to raise awareness of their business and being able to market it adequately when, more often than not, they are financially constrained. The SAB Entrepreneurship billboard offers these businesses advertising at a scale they would not ordinarily have the resources to achieve by themselves at their current level of operation,” says Andrea Quaye, Vice President Marketing, SAB and AB InBev Africa.
 
The billboard is part of SAB’s commitment to backing local entrepreneurs and creating 10 000 jobs in South African over five years by 2022. This will be achieved using the SAB Entrepreneurship Programme encompassing four entrepreneurship programmes – SAB KickStart, SAB Foundation, SAB Accelerator and SAB Thrive, as well as support for emerging farmers - providing business development support to SMMEs at various stages of the entrepreneurship life-cycle.
 
“SAB is investing heavily, both from a financial and a human resource point of view, to offer a comprehensive and holistic package of entrepreneurship support to develop small businesses from ideation to growth, transforming the supply chain, as well as investing in the potential of entrepreneurs in the broader community.
 
“The billboard clearly demonstrates our commitment to backing entrepreneurs in South Africa 100%, whether they are part of our Entrepreneurship programmes or not. We are offering the platform to any registered SMME who believes it could benefit their business,” says Quaye. 

The billboard which took about 4 weeks to complete, is made up of 3 360 globes, along with special LED bulbs with a special 1920s theme design to the billboard. 

To stand a chance to have your business featured on the billboard, you must have a registered business. You then sms your name along with the name of the business, the service that is provided and the business contact number to 33011. A verification process is completed by SAB and the details of the business will then be put up in lights.

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE