Investment in small business sector will help grow South Africa’s economy

Brian Joss – Movable assets – items that can be relocated from place to place without their original structure being damaged or disfigured – are the lifeblood of many small business owners.

An immovable asset that is fixed to land, such as a brick and mortar building, might assist in setting up and providing a base for a business. However, it is movable assets that liberate small businesses to the attainment of the business growth the owners envisaged, provided all other business growth strategies are implemented appropriately.

Think about a small business owner who has a courier services company. They require a delivery van to be able to meet the ever-changing needs of their customers. What about another small business owner that produces shoes and supplies these to large retailers? They need to ensure that the production machine does the job with necessary effectiveness that passes quality control.

Movable assets are to small businesses as oxygen is to human beings. Without access to movable assets, small businesses will suffocate. By investing in movable assets, such as vehicles, production machines or business equipment, small businesses can flourish, which, in turn, assists in growing the local economy.

The small business sector is a critical component of the South African economy. The government’s National Development Plan 2030 looks to this sector as the major source of employment and the driver of the economy.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) make a 34% contribution to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product and provide employment to 60% of the labour force. These numbers are testament of the importance of this sector in creating jobs and reducing unemployment.

However, small business owners, like owners in all other business sectors, face a myriad of challenges in their endeavours to grow their business.

These challenges include time, money management and access to markets. The single biggest inhibitor for small business with regards to movable assets is availability of finance.

The traditional methods of financing assets are designed to work effectively for corporate companies and private individuals. Often SMEs are not catered for in a world of complex financial models designed for big business or where salaried individuals produce payslips to secure finance. The small business world often thrives on contracts and requires non-conventional ways of assessing their application for movable asset finance.

“We at WesBank have been helping customers to grow their businesses with the correct movable asset finance solutions for almost 50 years,” says Futhi Cabe, Head of SME Segment. “WesBank has spent the last decade studying South Africa’s SME sector. Understanding that the single biggest challenge faced by the SME sector is access to finance and credit, The finance house has spent the past few years building IT systems, and creating systems and processes that make access to finance and credit for SMEs easier.

“We have significantly reduced the documents we require for credit assessment,” continues Cabe. “Where the finance application is for an amount less than R1m, we require only bank statements and not audited financials.

In addition, having worked closely with SMEs, we understand that time is a precious commodity for these business owners who invariably stretch themselves too thin as they grow their businesses. Thus, we offer a highly protected online application platform where SMEs can apply for finance and receive a reply instantly. SMEs do not have to set foot in the bank unless they choose to, as our online platform affords them the ability to also sign their contract wherever they are, at any time of the day or night.”

WesBank helps small business growth, and, in turn, economic growth, by financing assets the small business owner needs in an array of industries and sectors, including mining and construction, transport and logistics, manufacturing, retail and hospitality, and agriculture. There is also a selection of insurance products to cover their assets.

CAPTION: Helping SMEs: Futhi Cabe, head of WesBank SME Segment. Picture: Motorpress

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