BRICS wants to unlock intra-market access to catalyse entrepreneurship within the economic bloc.
In a panel discussion at the BRICS Business Forum held in Sandton on Tuesday, August 22, Bassim Haidar, the chairman and chief executive of BH Holdings Group represented SA.
Haidar is currently building the second cannabis manufacturing plant in Pretoria. As an entrepreneur, he said he owes his knowledge to his West African heritage which enabled him to understand the market.
“It was a natural thing to start to expand to the south. So, dealing with a lot of regulations is still a huge blocker, especially for those who do not understand the African terrain.
“Some of the issues are the different laws and regulations within these countries and additionally, the regulators have not been able to adapt to the new way we do business in Africa and across the BRICS countries,” said Haidar.
Birju Patel who is the group chief executive of ETG India said his entrepreneurial journey has been extremely rewarding as well as challenging.
“On any given day you have both extreme rewards or challenges. You just have to knuckle down and push forward, finding ways through obstacles that may be and keep striving towards a common focus or goal.
“One of the biggest challenges across the markets we operate within is the regulatory environment. This environment needs to enable entrepreneurs and SMEs investment. Whether talking about India or South Africa, a just and fair regulatory environment needs to created,” he said.
Diego Perez who from the Brazilian Association of FinTechs (ABPA) there is a thriving entrepreneurial atmosphere in the country.
“All of this was possible due to a public agenda to foster innovation and technology on the benefit of financial services. These are very efficient in Brazil.”
Dr Haiying Zhao from China said she is impressed by the vibrancy of SA. She said, “Chinese people like those from other countries are very entrepreneurial. Since the reforms, the entrepreneurial spirit has flourished and the SMEs have been growing and have become extremely important.”