R1bn earmarked for SME development

(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)
Cape Town – Business Partners has earmarked more than R1bn for the advancement of formal small and medium enterprises (SMEs) during the 2013-14 financial year.

The aim is to grow and foster the local economy and develop business within South Africa.

According to Christo Botes, executive director at Business Partners, the company’s  main objective in 2013 is to provide business infrastructure, advice and after-care service.

He said that SMEs are key drivers of wealth and in order to improve the country’s economic situation, these businesses need to be supported.
 
“Despite the challenging economic environment, we are finding that South African SMEs are still growing and that there is still an appetite for SME finance,” said Botes.
 
In order to ensure long-term sustainability, an enhanced development impact and more profits, there has been a slight change in the company’s investment strategy going forward.

In 2013 a major focus will be placed on a venture capital fund for entrepreneurs with businesses, concepts, products or services with high-growth potential.

“Our R400 million venture fund, launched late last year, is testimony to our belief in the potential of the South African community of entrepreneurs, despite the difficult times we may be facing,” he said.
 
Business Partners is also looking to invest in high growth businesses with high job growth potential in the technology, bio-technology, renewable energy and agro-processing sectors.

 “We predict that specialist businesses in fast-changing industries such as IT and communications will still have many opportunities to pursue. The dynamism in these industries will also ensure constant growth for innovative players,” said Botes.

“The rest of Africa, with its consistent growth of more than 5% over the last few years, is opening up to South African businesses like never before. Every local service provider hired, or every supermarket that a South African retail chain opens north of the Limpopo, provides opportunities for supply chains back home.”

Botes predicted that spending by the government and corporate outsourcing will remain the drivers of the economy in the year ahead.
“The current economic slump means that corporates are increasingly focusing on their core business and continue to outsource non-core functions that they previously kept in-house,” he said.

“Businesses that can position themselves well in these supply chains can look forward to a good year.”

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- Fin24
 
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