Journalist Lisa Illingworth spoke to James Caan of Dragon’s Den fame about his Step Up 2 a Start Up initiative for the next edition of Finweek. In this article she speaks to Caan about his own entrepreneurial journey and who is really responsible for the development of SMMEs.
Through the years entrepreneurs have come to rely on business plans to plot a trajectory for their small businesses. However, with more and more companies offering business plans on behalf of entrepreneurs, a new approach is needed to ensure that the entrepreneur is ready for the arduous journey to success.
A common issue raised among local entrepreneurs is the ease of access to business finance, which is often criticised due to the difficulties experienced when attempting to secure funding to either establish, or grow, a business. The reality is that there is money available for entrepreneurs with the right idea.
One of the biggest challenges facing South Africa at the moment is the question of how to foster an entrepreneurial culture amongst the youth. Unfortunately much of the teaching that takes place in schools and support initiatives is very theoretical in nature and doesn’t capture the realities of being an entrepreneur.
A few years ago, the sound of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) resonated loudly and was the showcase of ‘many business opportunities’ or ’a rapid move up the corporate ladder’. The excitement after university was irrepressible; just the thought of having the red carpet rolled out because I was ‘previously disadvantaged’ and, therefore, qualified for special treatment, made me ever grateful for being black. Over the years, however, the excitement faded, and I began to question whether I really benefited from all the perks of the BEE policy.
Financial planning for business owners can be a complicated affair, and with so many balls to juggle in the day-to-day running of a venture, it is easy to neglect this crucial aspect of ensuring future success. Insurance is one of the aspects most often overlooked – internal research conducted by Sanlam has shown that two thirds of South African business owners do not have basic business insurance.