Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Banking Support for Entrepreneurs

One of South Africa’s major banks recently announced increased levels of small business support, beyond what is normally expected from the banking industry. As one of the major stakeholders of the small business industry banks have for years benefited in many ways from the boom in entrepreneurial activity, often providing very little but high interest rates and tough terms to especially new businesses. In South Africa, small businesses account for about 40% of economic activity and provide a massive 60% of employment. Looking at the stats makes it easy to understand why banks would want to appear as small business friendly and this move hence comes as little surprise.

Nedbank Small Business Services recently announced that it is now offering a number of banking and nonbanking interventions to assist entrepreneurs as well as national social transformation. Business registration is a key focus area and the bank offers entrepreneurs the ability to register as a formal business entity through any Nedbank branch. 
The entrepreneur will simultaneously be able to register a business and register for 
value-added tax. 
The bank does not earn anything from the registration, but merely plays a facilitation role by using its technology to allow entrepreneurs to link with service providers, such as com-
pany registration business SwiftReg.

Enterprise development is also a focus point for the division and it has partnered with government financial institution Khula Enterprises to enable entrepreneurs who have inadequate collateral access to finance.

Further, Nedbank has noticed that South Africa has gone from being a largely resource-based economy to emerging as a sales-type industry. 
More Internet and service driven businesses, are emerging and there is a move away from heavy retailing to an emergence of manufacturing and a large services component in the country.

South Africa of course has a large range of business support organisations, with a real culture of entrepreneurship starting to develop within our nation. South Africans are naturally entrepreneurial, both from a necessity point of view as conditions for finding employment has been challenging for many years as well as from an opportunity perspective where the rich mix of races and cultures have brought about a wealth of idea and resulted in a breeding ground for entrepreneurs.

The bank says that they have started to play more of a facilitation role by using its technology to allow entrepreneurs to link with service providers, such as company registration business SwiftReg.

Together with the various other nationwide service providers such as SEDA, the IDC, SA Business Plans, Business Plan Software and the Investors Network we are confident that entrepreneurs in South Africa have a wealth of support that they can rely on and that, going forward into the next decade entrepreneurship will play an even bigger role in the growth and sustainability of the country.

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