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Mentorship key for SME survival - survey

Apr 23 2014 15:28
Cape Town - The benefits to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) of being supported and mentored by business enterprise specialists have been underscored by some outstanding long-term results revealed in Fetola's annual scoping report.

The report is based on the results of the Fetola SME Growth Survey 2013, a survey involving a selection of high-performing participants drawn from the 85 organisations comprising around 2 200 individuals in all nine provinces who were part of Fetola’s 2013 Legends Programme, which the enterprise development agency started in 2007.

Some notable successes from the survey include:

* the Legends Programme alone created and/or sustained more than 8 000 jobs since 2007 – a significant testament to the contribution that even one such programme can play in the country’s overall economic development;
* Participant businesses on Fetola’s Legends Programme have recorded a 94% business survival rate – compared to a national average of +/-30%;
* On average, Legends-supported businesses have recorded year-on-year growth of 65% – compared to a paltry 3% national average.

The added value of business incubation and mentoring support from SME specialists was strongly evident by the fact that over a 5-year period, survey participants showed growth rates ranging from 50% to as high as 200%, compared to a national average of 0-49% for those SMEs ‘going it alone’.
 
Catherine Wijnberg, Fetola director, said the results and feedback from the Fetola SME Growth Survey 2013 are a testament to the added value that a well-structured business support and mentoring service brings.

The report gives a greater depth of understanding of the SME environment in South Africa, and give insight into some of the important growth strategies that high-performing organisations use, said Wijnberg.
 
Respondents in the nation-wide survey completed an online questionnaire which explored eight areas of business operation, namely: sales & marketing; human resources & staff; financial management; products & services; supply chain management; systems, IT & infrastructure; legislation & compliance and lastly, specific questions about mentorship and support that the Legends Programme affords participants.

Other interesting findings from the survey include:  

* 100% of respondents cited increased sales & marketing efforts as contributing to their success;
* 75% of respondents believed that improved Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems boosted growth;
* 83% of respondents stated that improved staff training led to a direct increase in sales performance.
* Less than half of respondents felt that increasing their ability to access tenders aided their success
* 83% listed improved financial management systems as a contributing factor to growth
* A massive 92% of respondents cited improved systems and processes as a contributor to their growth.

- Fin24

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