Fin find, which provides online access to finance solutions for SMMEs, has partnered with Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA), government and other stakeholders to conduct a comprehensive study on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the vital SMME sector. The SA SMME Covid Impact Report will provide valuable insights on the effects of the lockdown based on the largest sample of SMME business owners surveyed to date. BLSA CEO Busisiwe Mavuso has hailed this study, describing it as a much-needed initiative to address the plight of small businesses. She says one of the greatest challenges of the pandemic was the impact on the small, medium and micro enterprises – which have seen their “business evaporate”.
“The reality is that SMME sector is crucial to the economic development of this country and is key in creating much-needed employment. The negative impact on this sector during this pandemic will have a ripple effect on the country’s economy that was already struggling prior to coronavirus,” says Mavuso.
Other key national partners include the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD); Services SETA, The Banking Association South Africa (BASA), The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE); SAICA Enterprise Development (SAICA ED), The South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA), The South African Venture Capitalist and Private Equity Association (SAVCA); The Institute of Business Advisors Southern Africa (IBASA), and E2.
Prior to conducting the survey, Fin find, working in collaboration with WITS Business School, reviewed the Covid-19 surveys undertaken in South Africa since the start of lockdown.
The majority of the surveys have been consumer focused, with fewer than 40% containing questions related to business impact or being specifically business-related. The sample sizes of the business surveys have ranged from 96 to 2,300 respondents, with an average of 13 questions. More than 80% of the business surveys were conducted before the end of April, during lockdown level 5, and provided predictions from business owners on the possible effects of the pandemic in the months to follow.
This report will also focus on understanding the tactics used by entrepreneurs to manage these problems. A key objective of the report is to also provide a picture of what the longerterm landscape may look like for entrepreneurs and business owners whose livelihoods, in many cases, have been dealt devastating blows during lockdown.
Fin find CEO Darlene Menzies says: “While no person or business has remained untouched by the effects of Covid-19, the SMME sector has undoubtedly been one of the hardest hits. The data we gather will enable SMME stakeholders to better understand the challenges that SMMEs are facing – internally, externally and at a social level – as well as to quantify the extent of the impact of the pandemic. The aim is to enable them to develop and support appropriate solutions tailor-made for small businesses that can assist the recovery of this crucial business sector going forward.”
One lucky participating firm will win R10,000 cash, and five others will receive a R1,000 gift voucher for participating. The survey results will be published in September.
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