In the wake of another rate hike and on top of ongoing loadshedding, high fuel prices and a generally gloomy economic outlook, South Africa’s myriad small and medium enterprises (SMEs) face serious headwinds. The right connectivity solution is a key success factor in overcoming these challenges in an ever connected world within which they operate.
“In our experience, many SMEs are starting 2023 in a crisis of confidence. While there’s no doubt there is a real basis for their anxiety, the key to succeeding in these difficult conditions is to have the best possible connectivity solutions at a cost-effective rate,” says Makgosi Mabaso, Managing Executive: Home and Business Solution. “Digital, connected ecosystems can enable SMEs to compete with even big corporates on equal terms and access new markets.” Mabaso explains that the current landscape was the inspiration behind Telkom’s Back 2 Business deals that have been carefully crafted with the needs of SMEs in mind.
“Typically, SMEs overspend on digital solutions because offers are usually bundled in a way that supports the vendor’s bottom line, not how to service their customer base effectively. We are turning that mindset on its head by enabling SMEs to access products and services aligned with their business goals and budget, and that will deliver real value,” she adds.
Telkom Business’s innovative approach to helping SMEs succeed needs to be seen in the broader context of the South African economy, which has failed to create jobs and economic inclusion. Globally, SMEs are seen as the engine of growth and create the majority of jobs. In Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, for example, SMEs create 60-70% of employment up to 60% of GDP. By contrast, despite making up 98.5% of the economy, South African SMEs only contribute 28% of the jobs, according to a report by the Small Business Institute.
“Digitalisation is one of the ways in which our entrepreneurs can grow their businesses and so create stable jobs—and it’s vital for the country’s future that they do so,” she argues. “Back 2 Business is our contribution, giving SMEs a solid foundation for a year of growth—against the odds.”