People 'n' Issues

SMEs ignored at Davos

January 19th, 2017
The World Economic Forum kicked off earlier this week, and data released by Sage revealed that only 17% of small businesses felt they were represented by politicians in their country’s decision making.
Small-Medium-Size-Business

Global research by Sage has highlighted that only 17% of small businesses feel represented by politicians in their country’s decision making. The data has been published in the run up to the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) where politicians and big business will gather in Davos to debate the global economic picture. Sage CEO Stephen Kelly has lamented the absence of small business issues from the agenda, and called for greater representation, given that in most economies entrepreneurs, or business builders, creates 2/3 of all jobs.

Clearly the role of government in helping navigate uncertain economic and political times will be key.

·         Almost half (46%) singled out export opportunities, and grants as being the most important thing that government can do.

·         The second most important was improvements to the political stability (45%).

·         Creating a stable regulatory environment ranked third (38%).

In order to give business builders a platform to connect with policy makers, Sage is launching its ‘Forum for Business Builders’. The Forum brings entrepreneurs from around the world insights, events and policy-forming partnerships to give them a powerful collective voice that can be heard on the world stage.

In South Africa, Sage has been involved with the 702/CapeTalk Small Business Awards for many years, seeing it as a way to help the winners to achieve great things and as a means to promote entrepreneurship in South Africa. It also offers free tools and a range of training programmes to Small & Medium Businesses that help them run their businesses effectively. Sage in South Africa is also a passionate advocate for Small & Medium Businesses in the media and on other platforms.

Anton van Heerden, Managing Director and Executive Vice-President, Africa & Middle East at Sage, adds: “South Africa’s small businesses are resilient and it is heartening to see how determined our entrepreneurs are to get to the top. They hold the key to creating jobs, reducing inequality and creating a more thriving South Africa.”

Sage CEO Stephen Kelly, said: “Only too often when the world’s policy makers discuss the global economic picture, small businesses are excluded from the discussion. This is most evident with the annual World Economic Forum in Davos where small businesses aren’t an item on the agenda. Worse still, 60% don’t even know the event is taking place. It’s crazy when you consider that small businesses create two thirds of all the jobs in most economies, and represent over 98% of all businesses.

Kelly continues “Business builders are the heroes of the economy. They toil away long after the rest of us have gone home, making personal sacrifices to grow their businesses, to support their families and build their communities. Policy makers and big business must wake up to the fact that these heroes need to be supported and given a voice, if we are to ensure the future health and prosperity of the world’s economy.”

States van Heerden: “It is promising to see that the South African government is putting the Small & Medium Business sector at the centre of its economic policies. By listening to small business owners and supporting them with a stable political environment and the right policies, government has the opportunity to turbo-charge South Africa’s growth.”

“With Davos taking place and South Africa’s annual Budget Speech not far away; we’d be interested to learn what is important for our country’s small businesses. In a world where only the voices of the biggest are heard, we will always fight to hear the voice of the entrepreneur,” concludes Anton.

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