The SME sector, which employs approximately two thirds of the workforce in South Africa, is vital to sustainable economic growth, social upliftment and job creation. Nedbank, which already actively supports small business through various initiatives and offerings, today announced another exciting concept which should see the nation rally behind small business.
At a media briefing in Johannesburg, Nedbank, in association with the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC), introduced Nedbank Small Business Friday. Themed Vote Small Business, the Nedbank Small Business Friday initiative seeks to drive awareness of the importance of the role of small business in the South African economy, building up towards Friday, 7 September, as the symbolic day for everyone – from consumers to large corporates – to support small businesses.
Nedbank Small Business Friday was inspired by Small Business Saturday SM, a successful initiative started in the US by American Express in 2010. In just two years, Small Business Saturday has grown into a coalition of hundreds of small business advocacy groups, public officials, corporations and small businesses across the U.S.that annually recognises the important role small businesses play in fuelling the economy. Most importantly, it encourages consumers to help strengthen their local communities by supporting the small businesses they love, and patronising their favourite local retailers and restaurants.
Nedbank, as the exclusive issuer of American Express-branded cards and merchant acquirer in South Africa, is building on American Express’ experience to ensure the success of this initiative in South Africa.
Partnering for growth
“We are delighted to bring the Small Business Friday movement to South Africa as part of our continued focus on partnering SMEs for growth for a greater South Africa. Notably, every small business on average creates employment for approximately ten people and for every job created there is a multiplier effect as the money spent from their income further stimulates economic activity in their local community,” says Ingrid Johnson: Group Managing Executive for Retail and Business Banking.
“Small to medium sized businesses are important to Nedbank and its client-centred strategy recognises the powerful virtuous circle of the entrepreneur as the influencer of the business, household, employees and community they serve. Providing a seamless banking experience for the entrepreneur, together with Nedbank’s Banking and Beyond TM philosophy ensures its clients have a choice of distinctive products and services, which add value to our clients businesses,” reflects Johnson.
“In addition to our free business seminars, through It’s MyBiz reality TV show on e.tv, the online networking & resource portal “SimplyBiz” and the Vuka Mentorship Programme for entrepreneurs, Nedbank supports various SME incubator programmes that focus on empowering businesses to become sustainable, job-creating enterprises. Over the past three years to December 2011, Nedbank has invested over R20 million in enterprise development assistance to emerging black SMEs, benefitting over 2 000 entrepreneurs,” explains Sibongiseni Ngundze, Managing Executive: Retail Relationship Banking.
Dedicated to SME success
The NSBC, an NGO dedicated to providing support, networking opportunities and relevant resources to small business, complements Nedbank as an experienced partner in this initiative. Nedbank understands that collaboration with relevant stakeholders such as the NSBC is vital to help galvanise the South African population to support small business.
“As one of the fastest growing organisations, the NSBC is dedicated to the success of small business in South Africa. We believe more needs to be done to support this sector as it is the engine for job creation and economic development. It is through interventions such as the Nedbank Small Business Friday that we can all make a difference. The time is now to mobilise society and go BIG by supporting small business,” says Mike Anderson: Founder and CEO.
“Through the Nedbank Small Business Friday movement, Nedbank invites the private sector, government, and the community at large to join us in celebrating small business. We believe collectively, we can assist in unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of people and fuel economic growth in our local communities. This will enhance South Africa’s competitiveness and service levels in the SME sector- the time is now to call on your support and Vote Small Business,” concludes Johnson.