What do entrepreneurs need to grow their business?

 

In support of small business owners and start-ups, we take a look at how society can help entrepreneurs to grow and succeed.

 

As we’ve mentioned throughout our series of articles, entrepreneurs, start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of South Africa’s economy. Without them, there would be fewer jobs, less opportunities and strength in the financial sector of our country.

Small businesses play a crucial role in shaping South Africa’s economy: from using local resources and creating more competitive markets; to creating jobs, on-the-job training opportunities and enabling innovation.

To help small businesses grow, all stakeholders across society need to band together to offer them support and guidance.

“SMEs contribute a significant proportion to GDP and employment,” says Discovery Insure CEO Anton Ossip. “By helping entrepreneurs grow, stakeholders benefit from increased economic growth and activity, and higher employment rates.”

These stakeholders include government and corporates, of which insurers form a big part. Each has a role to play in uplifting entrepreneurs in South Africa.

How government can help entrepreneurs

There are many ways in which the South African government helps entrepreneurs to start or sustain a business. The government offers funding for business ventures, especially for people from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. Government can also support entrepreneurs by creating a more enabling environment for businesses.

The World Bank Doing Business Index ranks South Africa 82nd out of 190 countries, while we are ranked at number 130 when it comes to starting a business. It takes 45 days for an entrepreneur to meet the regulatory requirements to get a business up and running in South Africa, whereas it takes fewer than 20 days in 130 other countries. South Africa does, however, perform well on protecting minority interests, which includes areas such as stock-market regulation, company law and corporate governance.

How corporates can help entrepreneurs

Like government, corporates can help fund entrepreneurs’ business ventures. But they can also support entrepreneurs in other ways, for example by giving them good terms on raw materials, making payments on time and creating new chains of supply. This will be a huge help in ensuring that entrepreneurs don’t struggle with cash flow problems.

How insurers can help entrepreneurs

Ossip says that entrepreneurs need protection against the business risks that they face today, for example the risk of business interruption.

There are many factors that can interrupt your normal business operations and cause financial strain on the business, for example:

  • Loss and damage to or theft of property;
  • Loss owing to theft or misuse of money, stock or property by employees;
  • Fleet risks, and
  • Cyber and social media risks that are becoming more prevalent.

“Entrepreneurs want to be assured that their businesses will be able to withstand the cost of these risks becoming reality. This is where insurers come in,” Ossip explains.

“At Discovery Business Insurance, we offer businesses insurance cover that caters for the risks of today, such as cyber risks and social media liability. We’ve also extended our business interruption cover to include events beyond material damage to property. This means that a client would be covered for business interruption following theft or damage to electronic equipment and loss of or damage to vehicles. Businesses also get tools, such as the fleet portal, to help them better manage their vehicles.”

How do small businesses benefit from Discovery’s shared-value business model?

“Discovery Business Insurance believes that businesses that proactively take steps to grow are the same businesses that have lower insurance risks,” Ossip says.

“We’ve developed a state-of-the-art business diagnostic tool, the Business Health Check, in partnership with Endeavor South Africa. By using this online tool, businesses can identify key areas of development so that they can grow their business as well as improve their risk management and lower their loss ratio. This leads to higher performance for the business and lower insurance premiums. Small businesses will also gain access to a network of business leaders and a tailored network of partners to help them focus on key areas of development.”

A win for an entrepreneur is a win for all of society. Let’s stand together to make small business thrive.

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