Small businesses are seen as playing an indispensable role in South Africa’s economic growth. According to research conducted by National Treasury, South Africa has an estimated 2.8 million Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) which contribute 52%-57% of GDP and about 60% of jobs. Furthermore, SMMEs contribute 40% of the country’s total remuneration.

The latest budget demonstrates the government’s growing commitment to SMEs. In his speech, Pravin Gordhan said that more must be done to change the economy, and this means working with black entrepreneurs to grow their companies across South Africa, and beyond. “It means bringing those who are marginalised into the mainstream of opportunity and activity,” Gordhan explains. “It means working with small and large businesses to build value-chain linkages that support dynamic, export-oriented, competitive enterprises.”

In line with the critical need to further develop entrepreneurs and SMEs in South Africa, Flexible Workspace has partnered with The Business Lab in a new initiative that will not only assist in nurturing small business growth but also assist larger corporations in fulfilling their Enterprise and Supplier Development requirements on the B-BBEE scorecard.

According to Bradley Porter, Founder of Flexible Workspace, starting a business can be a costly exercise. “Assets, inventory and overhead expenses are all part-and-parcel of what is required to begin a business venture and many a good idea fails purely because of a lack of resources,” he says.

“Add to these challenges, a lack of mentoring and coaching for new and inexperienced entrepreneurs and starting a new venture can seem like a very daunting experience indeed,” adds Bashir Khan, Founder of The Business Lab.

“Our shared business philosophy is to make it as simple as possible for entrepreneurs to do business,” says Khan. “As a collaborative business partner, we work with others in creating value-adding relationships.”

As part of the collaboration, Flexible Workspace and The Business Lab will assist corporates and organisations seeking to maximise spend on enterprise, supplier and skills development initiatives. “The collaborative business model allows for us to deliver best-in-class enterprise and supplier development programmes that result in companies fulfilling their B-BBEE requirements, as well as providing entrepreneurs and SMEs with the tools and resources they need to create sustainable  businesses, without the burden of undue financial strain,” says Khan.

“This is a collaborative partnership that makes real and genuine business sense and that adds significant value to companies seeking to maximise their enterprise development initiatives,” adds Porter. “Both our companies are run and managed by entrepreneurs, which puts us in a better position to guide and assist others on the same path we have walked. We believe that we have a unique understanding of the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and small businesses.”

“By creating a platform from which entrepreneurs and SMEs can grow sustainable  business ventures, the success rate of companies’ Enterprise Development & Supplier Development programmes will also increase exponentially. “This collaborative package includes all that is needed to start, manage and grow a sustainable business,” says Porter. “In addition, organisations that assist with sponsorships are likely to score well when it comes to Enterprise & Supplier Development as a result,” he concluded.