Information exchange key to growth

Gerrie van Biljon
Gerrie van Biljon.JPG
According to Gerrie van Biljon, Executive Director at Business Partners Limited, one of the major challenges facing South African entrepreneurs is a lack of access to SME (small and medium enterprises) information, resources and support, and this issue is currently having a negative effect on the development and growth of this sector. 

He says that according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, South Africa’s Total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) rate is still far below average when compared to similar economies around the world, and while this remains a matter of grave concern for South Africa, there is hope for the industry, if the correct resources and support can be supplied. 

“Accessible platforms and initiatives that provide SMEs with reliable advice and information can assist local SMEs immensely. The Business Mechanics platform was created with the purpose of supplying SMEs and entrepreneurs with a free reference service that assists them 24/7 when they require advice or encounter problems.” 

He says that the aim of the platform is to supply informative articles and advice pieces with a focus on the South African SME sector, as well as business documents and resources that will aid the entrepreneur in day-to-day management. 

“The ultimate goal is to create an online community wherein South African entrepreneurs can interact and share their knowledge, as well as promote their companies and form partnerships.”

Biljon explains that the website is made up of five main sections, namely articles; tips, tricks and tools; property; money and finance; and the community section. “The articles section focuses mainly on advice and guidance, with items ranging in topic from management, legal matters, marketing, business wellbeing and the latest news, trends and innovation. 

“The tips, tricks and tools section includes practical information where business owners can collect quick, concise information. This includes a business term glossary, guides to writing a business plan, weekly tips, tools, software and document templates made available for downloading, as well as several online calculators.”  

He says that the property section includes industry news, as well as a property classifieds section which lists available Business Partners Limited commercial property. 

“The money and finance section includes valuable information on the Rands and Cents of business, including tax advice, shareholders agreement guidance, and UIF assistance. Added to that is a growing database of financial institutions who offer finance to SMEs.

“The community also allows registered members to list their businesses in our directory, view upcoming events that we believe will be of value to our members and take part in the fully functional forum where SME owners are able to ask for or offer relevant business advice.”

“While the website has a focus on South Africa, our hope is to expand this knowledge base into the rest of Africa,” concludes Biljon.

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Issue 72