“Lack of knowledge – and not funding – is the biggest challenge facing entrepreneurs today”
This was one of the main focus points discussed at Milpark Education’s Entrepreneurship Week which was held in October and hosted in partnership with the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP), Services SETA and the Institute of Business Advisors South Africa.
The major issues dominating the discussions were lack of information/knowledge, no planning and lack of commitment to seeing things through. “Funding is not an issue anymore,” said Joseph Tshiwilowilo, CEO (Institute of Business Advisors South Africa). “Various direct finance institutions (DFIs) and private institutions/investors are ready to invest in entrepreneurs/SMEs, however, entrepreneurs are unable to sell their idea, or the business has no proven track record, guaranteed sales, or up-to-date financials.” Moreover, SMEs lack knowledge of how to market their business and basic sales skills. This leads to limited awareness of the existence of the SME.
“Planning and sustainability are major problems within SMEs”
According to Philasande Sokhela, Entrepreneurship lecturer in the School of Commerce at Milpark Education, “Business/idea owners lack information about basic business planning. And established businesses have a poor workmanship issue which has not been addressed. SMEs fail to create sustainable businesses, due to issues of commitment to deliver excellent quality products/services.” This results in customers doing business with the SME only once, and they never return, nor do they recommend friends and family to the SME.
A day of expert knowledge-sharing
The main aim of this three-day conference was to connect entrepreneurs, students, academics and industry experts through conversations regarding basic entrepreneurial skills, mentorship, incubation programmes, and financial management skills. The dialogue focused on issues such as SMME growth and challenges faced by entrepreneurs venturing into new markets, digitisation and 4IR (4th industrial revolution), business modelling and pitching ideas as well as requirements for tax compliance and legislation. The panelists included various experts from industry, academia and the government. Members of the panel included Kopela Mohohlo, an investment analyst (GEP), Steve Bird, Board Member (Direct Marketing Association), Joseph Tshiwilowilo, CEO (Institute of Business Advisors South Africa), Seymone Moodley, Founder (Malteez Digital), David Nakin (SARS), Serame Ramosajana, HOD (Milpark Education – Commerce), Kethabile Ndlovu, Finance Lecturer (Milpark Education).
Missed it? Make sure you’re at the next one!
Through this and various events that Milpark Education has hosted in 2018 alone, we have made an impact on 100 entrepreneurs/SMEs in Gauteng and we continue to reach more entrepreneurs in other parts of the country. We look forward to hosting more events and workshops where we raise awareness about the importance of entrepreneurship and SME sustainability. Keep an eye on our website and social media for all the details on our future events.
22 Nov 2018