Thursday, March 24, 2011

ABSA Backing Entrepreneurs with new Initiative

A new initiative with the intention of stimulating entrepreneurial ventures and the backing of small business was launched today by ABSA Small Business. The initiative sees ABSA invest not only a large amount of money into new start-ups and business support to those with a viable business plan but also providing further help and advice to business owners looking to grow their businesses and employ new people. The small business sector is the largest provider of jobs in the country and this initiative has high hopes for businesses to start, be successful and employ more people.

South Africa has one of the highest unemployment rates amongst its peers and its time that small businesses are provided with better incentives for employing a larger workforce. Traditionally this has not been the case with small businesses often having a much higher incentive to remain small, even though the financial returns are far less attractive.

Called Opening Doors, the initiative not only seeks  to  provide financial solutions which will assist SMEs to open their doors for trade, but will also provide non-financial support to open doors or remove barriers which business owners are often faced with.

"Opening Doors wants to create a visible platform for the continued development and support of SMEs and to further mobilise and accentuate the entrepreneurial revolution that has already started in South Africa.

"SMEs are important catalysts for development, effectively addressing employment and wealth creation. A healthy SME sector is critical if we are to create the 5 million jobs government wants to see by 2020," says Bobby Malabie (Pictured right), Chief Executive of Absa Business Bank.

Opening Doors will be introduced to existing and aspiring SME owners by screening a documentary, Opening Doors, in Ster-Kinekor theatres nationwide at 08:30 on 29 March 2011 in order to reach the widest audience possible.

Malabie points out that the South African government has placed job creation firmly on the top of its agenda for 2011, calling on all state departments and the private sector to tackle the country's unemployment crisis.

To achieve this, a jobs fund of R9 billion over three years was established in order to finance new job creation initiatives.

"New jobs must be created, inspiring hope for the 40% of South Africans who either have no work, or have only infrequent work. SMEs have the ability to mobilise the sustainable growth of employment opportunities for job-seekers."

"With Opening Doors, we intend to encourage South Africans to open small businesses and create employment opportunities for the unemployed," says Malabie.

Research has shown that small businesses have moved from employing 18% of the South African employable population in 1998 to more than 60% today, supporting the notion that SMEs are vital to the  future of South Africa's economy and are also strategically important with regard to job creation initiatives.

Absa research has also identified five attributes that are key to becoming a successful entrepreneur. The five stories featured in the documentary show how these attributes - curiosity, risk appetite, energy, adaptability and a sense of mission - contribute to a successful business and explore the expressed and unexpressed needs of entrepreneurs.

The small business sector does and will play a major role in not only addressing the employment issues but also to ensure steady growth  in the country. Its time that both other Banks and the South African Government start to play their part  also in providing entrepreneurs with the incentive to start and grow businesses that will the employ and train the huge potential in human resources the country undoubtedly has.

Labels: , ,