Nedbank has been at the forefront of supporting and providing Small Businesses with flexible solutions to meet the needs of start-ups, entrepreneurs and private practices.
As a bank that understands the challenges of managing a small business it is no surprise that they support and create platforms such as that of Business Ignite aimed at empowering entrepreneurs to carve out new markets and sustainable industries towards boosting the South African economy saw a number of entries from Cape Town and Johannesburg – with both regions attracting to over a thousand entries combined.
Tshepho Phakati, Founder of Kaello Business Hub was at the forefront trying to ignite small business potential through the programme. One of the core objectives of the Nedbank Business Ignite competition is to dive deeper into significant issues pertaining to businesses; such as sustainability, governance, compliance with different laws, as well as profitability.
This year, the competition took a different angle; where the focus was not solely on the business, but also the person behind the business. Factors such as turnover and profitability of their respective businesses determined who made it to the final cut of the race. “We had to call each applicant to establish truthfulness without doing extensive in depth verification but we had to have measures in place,” says Phakathi.
“There were measures put in place to ensure fair practice in deciding the winner of the competition; and in order to authenticate each participants entry, the judges had to use corroboration in the information that was presented before them”.
One of the common challenges the Nedbank Business Ignite programme has unearthed with small businesses is their lack of an understanding of marketing and the fact that they face major cash flow problems. “Managing money in a small business can become a time-consuming practice and it is not shocking that small businesses often struggle to manage cash flow,” comments Phakathi.
Phakathi also adds that the biggest problem that every small business faces is everyone seems to hit an invisible wall and not know what to do to deal with the next set of challenges.
Seeing that entrepreneurs struggle with problem solving skills, the intensive incubation programme process allows for entrepreneurs to identify a set of objectives for their businesses and matrixes are put in place to track the process. This is important to determine business growth in terms job creation, turnover and business margins with the end goal being able to ensure that the business turnover grows in line with the business’s profitability.
The way in which the programme is set up is to equip small business owners with skills to not only effectively manage their business, but to also understand areas such as human, financial and social capital which all stem from the core fundamentals of problem solving and relationship management.
The following year might see a lot of new and better entrants which would mean that the Nedbank Business Ignite competition would have to move a step further in terms of how the processes are carried out. This would mean that all the entrants need to provide more documentation, such as their financials to support applications in order to avoid the risk of running a programme where winners or finalist are not being authentic in terms of how their business are run.
Johannesburg Nedbank Business Ignite winner, Bheki Ngema, the founder of Ben & Co Designs, the first black owned jewellery retailer in South Africa. They manufacture and retail high-end custom-made jewellery and take advantage of South Africa’s raw natural resources such as platinum, gold and diamonds. Ben & Co Design struggle with cash flow as well as access to marketing and advertising.
Bheki walked away with a tailored and intensive twelve-month incubation at Kaello Business Hub to the value of R100,000, including radio advertising to the value of R200,000 on 702 and/or Cape Talk according to the business’ needs.