Ensuring the accountability of the various contributing stakeholders.

The many, announced efforts and promises  to bolster the small business environment, now have us all “listening on the radio” to see if the promise-makers are promise-keepers and to see how small businesses are responding to the many offers and efforts.

We await the evaluation of the R200b allocation to banks for loan disbursements, to see if they are doing their part in providing accessible financing for businesses. Banks have the ability to loosen their criteria or terms of qualification, to provide small businesses with easier access to these funds.
On the other end we also have the South African Finance Minister standing against the notion of large government spending being a solution, warning that higher spending would demand higher debt, which would mean a decline in investment and therefore in growth.

Either way, there is always the gap in terms of an objective, universal and transparent approach to aligning our efforts and assessing the success or lack thereof. The silo mentality continues to prove its denial of potential for growth and mutual strengthening.

We still need to find a way to see through the same lens when it comes to the importance of impact measurement as well as a common approach to the business support design. Such a collaborative approach would enable us to create common benchmarks and tools for us to collectively measure ourselves as a community and be of the same mind about what we need to do better. We will be able to:

  • Amass the learnings and experiences gained through our engagements with SMMES, in order to make relevant, informed decisions
  • Force ourselves to set quality business support standards that we can vouch for
  • Collectively identify areas of the support ecosystem that need new strategic approaches
  • Attract better, larger funding and other resources towards our efforts
  • Appropriate existing resources more efficiently
  • Be more influential in driving policy decisions at government level

Collective power has potential to yield greater success. In South Africa, we subscribe to the notion of “ubuntu” which is loosely understood to imply that “I am, because you are”. Perhaps it is time to take this principle from township corner cafes and urban theatre stages and transfer it right into our data analysis!

R200b is a massive amount to spend, would we not want to be able to see, measure and appreciate its impact on small businesses? If we become “like-minded” collect our impact data for common goals and use the same lens for our analysis and measurement, we can achieve more accurate and sustainable results.

Nomsa Langa

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