1 year ago

Opportunity Issue 98

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Opportunity magazine is a niche business-to-business publication that explores various investment opportunities within Southern Africa’s economic sectors and looks to provide its readers with first-hand knowledge about South African business. Opportunity also looks to present South African business to international markets that may have interests in investing in South Africa. The publication is endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).


SMALL BUSINESS The key to a successful economy is a better balance of SMEs As financier Business Partners Limited marks its 40th-anniversary milestone, Managing Director Ben Bierman reflects on how the local SME sector has still not reached its full potential. The positive role that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play in the local economy has been raised time and time again and is largely undisputed. From providing employment opportunities, to solving business challenges, these businesses can offer an innovative and agile approach oftentimes lacking in larger companies. SMEs have, however recently had to overcome economic headwinds, even pre-Covid-19, due to a sluggish economy and, added to the recent challenges of the pandemic, will likely continue to face challenges such as the high cost of running a business, excessive red tape, access to markets, financing and technical knowledge. This is according to Ben Bierman, Managing Director of Business Partners Limited, a specialist risk finance company for formal small and medium owner-managed businesses, reflecting on the company’s past four decades in the local SME financing landscape. “Looking at various first-world economies, it’s clear that a good balance of different-sized businesses and equally distributed wealth in the business sector is crucial to a thriving economy,” Bierman points out. “In South Africa, most of the economic power has for too long been held by the large corporates, and for our economy to grow and thrive, a larger base of mediumsized businesses is required. This key shift, however, requires an ecosystem that better supports these businesses.” Bierman adds that Business Partners Limited is proud of the contributions made to the SME ecosystem, albeit more remains to be done. The year 2021 marks the company’s 40th anniversary, and to date Business Partners Limited has provided R20-billion in finance to South African business owners via more than 71 000 transactions, which has in turn assisted in facilitating over 671 000 jobs in the country. Bierman says that over the past 40 years some of the key challenges that were facing the industry have remained and include a lack of financial literacy among business owners, non-compliance with legislation and the availability of collateral which hinders access to much-needed financing opportunities. The challenges are even more pressing today as SMEs battle to survive the current pandemic. He highlights some of the key changes he has witnessed, as well as urgent efforts that need to be taken by both South Africa’s government and private sector, in order to better support SMEs as the country paves the road to recovery: Tshepo Mekoa’s business Brima Logistics was expanding until Covid-19 hit, then he had to adapt and show resilience. One of the sources of support finance for the business was an emergency loan from Business Partners Limited. 18 |

THERE ARE MANY BUSINESS FINANCIERS OUT THERE. BUT NONE LIKE US. So, who are we? We’re the company that’s been supporting and financing business owners for over 40 years. That’s longer than some of Africa’s largest banks have existed. We’ve provided over R20,5 billion in tailor-made finance to small and medium businesses. Helped facilitate over 658,000 jobs and counting. With finance from R500,000 to R50 million, imagine the potential we can unlock in your business. Apply for our specialised business finance at MINIMUM 2 YEARS IN BUSINESS R500K TO R50M BUSINESS FINANCE UP TO 100% PROPERTY FINANCE

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