SME Africa 2012: Contributing towards a Robust Economic Growth

17 October 2012: The SME Africa 2012 has been officially inaugurated today, at the Sandton Convention Centre in "on"Johannesburg, witnessing a full house of professionals responsible for delivering SME initiatives, economical and financial role in SME growth.

Online PR News – 19-October-2012 – South Africa – 17 October 2012: The SME Africa 2012 has been officially inaugurated today, at the Sandton Convention Centre in "on"Johannesburg, witnessing a full house of professionals responsible for delivering SME initiatives, economical and financial role in SME growth and entrepreneurship perspective to boost the region’s SME sector.

Endorsed by the PACCI, and supported by Micro Finance South Africa, Institute of South African Bankers and International Compliance Association, the conference opened with a speech from the chairman, Colin Makala who is the Chief Executive Officer and Publisher of SME "South Africa Newspaper.

In his keynote speech he discussed the African SME landscape, emphasising on the contribution of SMEs in the economic growth, current challenges faced by this sector and how regulations can work in coping with such challenges.
The first presenter from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) in w:st="on"South Africa, William Smith who is the Head of Operations Head Office & Regions talked about South African experience in establishing dedicated channels of support for SME development. He spoke about the IDC’s approach into various funding schemes, business support for entrepreneurs, and how IDC enables business sustainability support for SMEs.

The major challenges of growing the SME sector was linked to the global economic instability, socio economic challenges within South Africa, corruption, crime rates and late payments are the key areas that causes a slow growth rate of SME development in South Africa..
Following IDC’s presentation, the main feature of the morning was the panel session on the subject of overcoming barriers in SME growth. Moderated by Colin Makala, the panel featured industry experts who shared their views on the main subject. Kim Dancy, Head of Policy Regulation & Consumer Empowerment at Fin Mark Trust, was one of the panelists highlighted about the lack of technical capacity for SME development and the significance of the education sector to boost entrepreneurship by making entrepreneurship a curriculum in schools.

Presentation on women entrepreneurship was addressed by Evelyn Masotja, Director: Policy & Research - Gender and Women Empowerment Unit - Department of Trade & Industry – w:st="on"South Africa. In her presentation, Masotja emphasised on the challenges facing women enterprises and shared policies on women economic empowerment.
One of the most significant debates during the panel session was about the lack of dialogue between the SMEs, the funders and the government. There is a lack of social responsibility from the authorities where SMEs need a market to do business in and they also require a simpler regulatory environment. Carl J Lotter the Director of the SASMEF – South Africa Small Medium Enterprise Federation highlighted these issues on the panel.
Other featured sessions included a debate on the creation women enterprises which was presented by Evelyn Masotja the Director of Policy & Research – Gender & Women Empowerment Unit with the Department of Trade & Industry of South Africa, a presentation on holistically unlocking constraints to SME growth was addressed by Stuart Townshend the Executive Director with Edge Growth and Kim Dancy the Head of Policy Regulation & Consumer Empowerment with FinMark Trust during her presentation talked about Financial Inclusion – how SMEs can access to credit from a South African perspective.

Tomorrow, day two of the conference, will witness presentations different governmental initiatives and workings of other organizations towards development of SMEs in the region.

Koenie Slabbert, Chief Operating Officer - Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) will narrate the South African SMMEs contribution in creating a better economic growth point. In her presentation she will inform the audience about The Trade Point program which is formulated by SEDA to increase global opportunities for entrepreneurial success.
Helping SMEs control budgets, airtime usage, communication costs and commercial activities by  adopting advanced technological changes and introducing innovative systems would be the key points discussed by Chief Operating Officer of   Vodacom, Vuyani Jarana.

The second day concluded with a panel discussion outlining the principles of staying ahead in a competitive market by being innovative in business approach, operations, customer service, product lines and offerings. .  The panel was joined by Dr. Nikolaus Eberl, Chief Executive Officer of BrandOvation and  Bruce Mubayiwa, Content & LinkedIn Strategist  from Avatar Agency

This conference will also engage in presentations by eminent speakers from Micro w:st="on"Enterprise Development Organisation (MEDO), South Africa Small Medium Enterprise Federation (SASMEF) Edge Growth, Absa Bank, Business Partners International, Charter Group, Marang Financial Services, The South African Breweries and many more.

About Fleming Gulf Conferences:
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Mohor Mukherjee
Marketing – Finance
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ABSA Bank Limited,Amrei Botha,Avatar Agency,BrandOvation,Bruce Mubayiwa,Business Intelligence,Business Partners International,Charter Group, CHARTER GROUP PLC, Colin Makala,Content & LinkedIn, Evelyn Masotja, finance,Fleming Gulf,Internal Trade,Johannesburg