JOHANNESBURG - A small business expert has taken to the use of data analytics to position small, medium and macro-enterprises (SMMEs) to stimulate economic growth and create much-needed jobs in the embattled South African economy.
Sifiso Ndwandwe, executive director of Catalyst for Growth (C4G) says he established in 2015 with the purpose of using monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and data analytics to enable stakeholders in the small business development ecosystem to be more proactive and collaborative.
Ndwandwe says the company collaborates with development support providers who support small businesses contribute to the overall improvement of the economy.
“SMEs are playing an important and critical role in growing the economy,” he says. “We need to understand what works and what doesn’t work to make our economy thrive.”
C4G, says Ndwandwe, is in favour of all ecosystem players and entrepreneurs using relevant data to make better decisions.
“We are trying to create a conversation that is based on evidence to ultimately have a better ecosystem for entrepreneurial development.”
Ndwandwe, who has worked for a number of years for government agencies, NGOs and the corporate sector, says entrepreneurship should be encouraged by all stakeholders as a means to revive the economy.
He says the country has one of the most dynamic SMME ecosystems in the world.
“This is because of the proactive government that has created an enabling environment for SMMEs and the varied institutions that interact with SMMEs at various levels.”
He bemoans the fact that the economy has been shedding jobs at an alarming rate, saying the National Development Plans states that 90 percent of jobs should come from small businesses by 2030.
“We are losing jobs in many sectors of the economy,” says Ndwandwe.
Statistics South Africa this week said that non-formal agricultural business shed 69 000 jobs between March and June 2018 and that employment in the sector dropped from 9 817 000 to 9 748 000 during the period.
Ndwandwe says the government needs to deal with access to finance and markets in order for SMMEs to flourish.
“This really affects their (SMMEs) business because they are not accessing loans in the financial services industry to build their businesses and enter into corporate supply chains.”
Ndwandwe, however, says he is hopeful that the government, labour and business will cooperate more cohesively in the roles that they all need to play to help the economy to grow.