SME survey 2006: It’s empowered

SME Research

SME Survey, which tracks the sentiment, performance and needs of the vital small to medium enterprises (SME) market in South Africa, has concluded an empowerment deal with Bonngoe Capital, a company which specialises in advisory services relating to BEE and development.With its official launch set for 1 March, SME Survey 2006 will see information gathered from some 6 000 randomly selected decision-makers in South African small, medium and micro enterprises (SMEs) through the course of the year.

Under the terms of the deal, 28% of the ownership of the SME Survey will be transferred to Bonngoe Capital; operationally, additional resources will be assigned to SME Survey to deepen the breadth and depth of the research.

According to principal researcher Arthur Goldstuck, BEE is one of the primary focus areas for the 2006 Survey. “Since SME Survey is, in effect, an SME in its own right, we felt that it was only appropriate that we should ourselves become BEE compliant; we will be seeking to test the hypothesis that empowerment is having an increasingly positive effect on the competitiveness of SMEs, and hence felt it necessary to put our money where our mouth is,” he says.

The other principal research area for the survey is the impact and role that information technology has had on small to medium businesses over the past three years since the Survey’s inception. Secondary focus areas include an examination of the enabling environment for SMEs and entrepreneurship in South Africa, the role of government in fostering the competitiveness of SMEs and the role played by financial services institutions in aiding entrepreneurship.

Goldstuck adds that in the selection of an empowerment partner, SME Survey specifically sought a company that could add further intellectual capital to the Survey – and found that partner in Bonngoe Capital. “This is more than an equity deal; Bonngoe will be involved on an operational level, and with relevant expertise in research and auditing – particularly in the field of BEE [empowerment ratings agency Empowerdex is a Bonngoe company] – it brings an added level of understanding and insight.”

Chairman of Bonngoe Capital Vuyo Jack says BEE will play an increasingly important role for the SME. “Organisations of all sizes must contribute to empowerment initiatives; while the contributions from SME companies are not onerous, as government does not want to impose added constraints on entrepreneurs, it is nevertheless a market force that all companies should be aware of.”

“The agreement we’ve reached with SME Survey has got us excited; we believe we can leverage our existing intellectual assets which have been created through Empowerdex’ activities – and the activities of other organisations within our group – to broaden the scope of the SME Survey 2006,” he says.

“This partnership represents a convergence of the ideals of the two organisations which should result in the collection of a wider range of information from survey respondents, as well as improved analysis and interpretation of the results.”

Sponsored by Standard Bank and Oracle Corporation South Africa, SME Survey 2006 is expected to provide SMEs with practical information which will help to develop and improve business. Research findings will be presented in seminars which are scheduled to be held in September 2006.

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