Backing the entrepreneurs, the drivers of a new economy
Amidst recent news from Stats SA that 5.7 million South Africans of working age are unemployed, leading South African insurer, Santam views entrepreneurs as the drivers of a new economy and is putting resources behind financial consumer education for SMMEs in Soweto to advance their developing enterprises.
Santam has partnered with The Box Shop, a recently established retail outlet and business incubator situated within the Vilikazi Street precinct in the heart of Soweto, where it has setup a learning hub to provide specialist financial consumer education for entrepreneurs. This innovative lifestyle retail outlet houses micro enterprises within the fashion, furniture, accessories and food industries.
The consumer education training partner Phama Media Marketing and Solutions, also an SMME, has been contracted to deliver the training which started at the beginning of May. The focus is on interactive teaching covering concepts such as: the basics of financial planning, business budgeting and insurance do’s and don’ts, and the risks faced by entrepreneurs.
Ray-ann Sedres, head of Transformation at Santam, says the insurer believes that investing in education and supporting initiatives to create viable and sustainable businesses has the potential to reverse the downtrend in unemployment, and create a society of job makers rather than job seekers
Sedres explains that through their participation in this project Santam will not only be providing the consumer financial education to the various enterprises at The Box Shop – but during the course of the programme plans to provide training to between 600 and 800 entrepreneurs and SMME’s between now and December this year.
“Supporting and developing entrepreneurs to create new businesses is good for the economy and provides a springboard towards greater employment opportunities down the line. Equipping entrepreneurs with the right skills and appropriate training could prove the difference between a failed enterprise or that of a sustained and successful start-up with the potential to expand and grow.
“With South Africa’s jobless rate at an eight-year high, imparting greater support to the establishment and development of small businesses and the active promotion of a broader entrepreneurial culture is just one of the ways in which the economy can be stimulated and additional jobs created.
“The Santam supported training provides enterprise owners with knowledge and skills to improve their financial literacy and financial accountability, placing the entrepreneur in a better position when it comes to making important business decisions – and to practically assist them in ‘risk proofing’ their businesses,” concludes Sedres.
The training forms part of a broader consumer education strategy initiated by the insurer aimed at community upliftment and promoting access to financial services. It is done in support of Government’s drive to combat the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality but also understanding that emerging markets have specific needs.
At the end of 2015 Santam provided a series of consumer education training programmes to more than 600 emerging farmers from villages and rural towns across the country to empower them to successfully convert their subsistence farming into commercial farming. In addition, Santam continues to support industry initiatives through the company’s contribution to the South African Insurance Association (SAIA) consumer education fund.