APA

African Press Association
Standard Bank Head of Client Solutions and Small Enterprises, Belinda Rathogwa

SMEs must utilise digital to rekindle SA economy

by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – DESPITE limitations posed by unreliable internet connection, undependable services or financial solutions posing a threat to the success of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), there is still a massive opportunity for these firms to use digital solutions and drive South Africa’s growth.

These are the sentiments of Belinda Rathogwa, Head of Client Solutions- Small Enterprises at Standard Bank, ahead of the SME Summit 2020, whose focus is on the development of entrepreneurship and SME success.

A study conducted by research firm, In On Africa, revealed that 86 percent of SME owners use their smartphones for business purposes.

While 60 percent of the SME owners also feel that restrictions posed by lack of a reliable internet connection, dependable services or financial solutions were hindering the success of their business.

Rathogwa feels that although there are limitations in terms of connectivity, there are immense prospects for small enterprises to use digital innovations to enhance business growth.

“With adequate infrastructure, the possibilities of what can be realised in business are endless,” she said.

“The term Fourth Industrial Revolution gets thrown around a lot, but we believe that there are some tangible benefits for South African SME’s within that conversation.”

Rathogwa noted that now more than ever, organisations were reaching previously unimaginable levels of productivity thanks to technology.

“We are beginning to see SME’s embrace technology by partnering with established technology companies to get their products to consumers much easier and efficiently,” she said.

In addition, the prevalence of social media has changed the way many small enterprises do business.

“Customers are now interacting with businesses in real-time, with the additional ability to make sales with just a tap on the phone’s screen.”

The SME Summit 2020 was held on Thursday (March 5) in Johannesburg.

– CAJ News