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SBI announces new board, focus on SME research

Jan 29 2018 16:19

Cape Town - The Small Business Institute (SBI) - formerly known as the AHI - has reconstituted its board of directors following the adoption of a new Memorandum of Incorporation.

It announced on Monday that each board member will now be responsible and accountable for a specific portfolio, chosen according to his or her expertise.

The SBI is a member in Business Unity South Africa (BUSA).

One of the SBI's priorities this year is to undertake research. It will, for instance, look at what prevents the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The most important research project for the year will be a baseline study on SMEs. The SBI regards this as a first of its kind in SA. A new partnership with business environment specialists SBP will assist with this study.

In the view of SBI chair Bernard Swanepoel, there is a lack of research in SA on the SME sector. This leads to assumptions having to be made about how many SMEs there are in the country, for instance.

He also cautions against creating more and more laws and regulations for the SME sector when it is this very sector which is likely to create jobs in SA.

"We need to understand whether the decisions and activities by government and big business help or hinder SMEs to start, run and grow,” said Swanepoel.

Baseline study

The baseline study will capture the size, nature and characteristics of small firms operating in SA. It will be conducted over three phases, offer open-source access to the data, be peer-reviewed and should be completed by the end of the year. Thorough analysis using the data will be ongoing.

Other research will examine topics like red-tape and the supply of finance. The SBI expects the findings will provide evidence to promote more effective public positions on matters concerning enterprise development, as well as a platform for a more cohesive voice for small business.

The findings of the research will be presented to BUSA and at five SBI indabas planned as well as at meetings planned to be held in town halls in townships throughout the country.

The new board members and their portfolios:

  • Ashwin Willemse (entrepreneurship and youth);
  • Bernard Swanepoel (chair);
  • Chris Darroll (research and advocacy - alternate);
  • Ernest Messina (corporate relationships);
  • Hettienne von Abo-Moolman (sectoral coordination);
  • Ivan Pillay (government liaison);
  • Jennifer Cohen (research and advocacy);
  • Joe Mwase (BUSA liaison);
  • Octavia Matloa (finance and governance);
  • Siki Mgabadeli (communications);
  • Sipho Nkosi (vice chair and vice president);
  • Winda Austin-Loeve (president and chamber liaison);
  • Yolisa Pikie (government liaison - alternate).

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sbi  |  entrepreneurship  |  small business


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