Go big for small business

By Drum Digital
20 July 2012

Today, Braamfontein is home to thriving small businesses including coffee shops and even a hotel.

Just a few short years ago, Braamfontein was a desolate no-go area for businesses and individuals alike. Today, it is home to thriving small businesses including coffee shops, bookstores, second-hand stores and even a hotel.   It was a fitting location for the launch Nedbank’s Small Business FridayTM initiative.

Presented in association with the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC), the project seeks to drive awareness of the importance of the role of small business in the South African economy.  Themed ‘Vote Small Business’ the campaign is aimed at building a groundswell of support for small businesses, culminating in a day of celebration on Friday, 7 September 2012.

Small Business FridayTM was inspired by Small Business Saturday, a successful initiative started in the U.S. by American Express in 2010. In just two years, Small Business Saturday has grown into a coalition of hundreds of small business advocacy groups, public officials, corporations and small businesses across the U.S. that annually recognises the important role small businesses play in fuelling the economy.

“The SMME sector, which employs approximately over two thirds of the workforce in South Africa, is vital to sustainable economic growth, social upliftment and job creation.

“Every small business on average creates employment for nine people and for every job created there is a multiplier effect as the money spent from that income further stimulates economic activity in the local community,” says Ingrid Johnson: Group Managing Executive for Retail and Business Banking.

Entrepreneurs Thabo Legwale and Gugu Mnguni are the embodiment of principle that small businesses benefit communities.  The pair started their marketing business in a shack in Meadowlands Soweto in 2006. Today, Dowhile Creative Media Solutions employs five people and operates out of an office in downtown Johannesburg.

“We started this company with money from our own pockets and because we wanted to keep costs low, we opted to work from where we lived.  Through hard work, perseverance and the support we received from our community, we are growing our business steadily.

“We hope that Small Business FridayTM will drive more business our way so that we can increase the number of people we employ,” comments Gugu Mnguni, Operations Executive at Dowhile.

“We believe more needs to be done to support the small business sector as it is the engine for job creation and economic development. The time is now to mobilise society to go BIG by supporting small business,” says Mike Anderson: Founder and CEO of the NSBC.

Small business owners will soon be able to sign up to the initiative and become part of an online community where government and big business will be encouraged to procure services. For further information, visit SimplyBiz.co.za

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