C4G is driven by the ideal of providing a simple way of monitoring, evaluating and benchmarking quality amongst many Business Development Programmes delivered by various BDSPs in South Africa. The process has the potential to increase the impact that BDSP’s have on SMMEs to maximise their success.

By providing independent solutions, C4G supports the efforts of stakeholders in the market. Through the Analytics Platform, C4G aggregates data and consolidates the collective efforts of BDSPs to boost the success of SMMEs they service, with the aim of having a positive impact on the economy.

With billions of rands spent annually on Enterprise Development and Supplier Development initiatives, little is known about the real return on investment. We know that high-quality business development support will have a positive impact on SMMEs, however, before C4G initiated the process, there was no benchmark or an evidence-based approach available to evaluate the activity.

C4G is an Analytics Platform for SMMEs providing insight specifically aimed at improving their general performance in the ecosystem. Data is collected from BDSPs and SMMEs alike, this is followed by a review and verification process, to ensure the integrity of all the data captured. All results are published and shared with all stakeholders that include funders and investors.

Since its establishment in 2015, C4G has proceeded through three major stages, namely; ‘pre-Beta, Beta and post-Beta’. The pre-Beta was the pilot stage where data was sourced from two BDSPs and 20 SMMEs between 2012 to 2014. Following this was the Beta stage between 2015 and 2016, where the BDSP numbers grew to 7 BDSPs and 700 SMMEs. The post Beta phase, C4G worked with 22 BDSPs and 2800 SMMEs. During this phase the Analytics Platform played a critical role in the gathering and analysis of data.

Currently, C4G is in the post-Beta stage where data is collecting data from 47 BDSPs and over 3400 SMMEs across three African countries. This stage is particularly exciting in that it will provide data from a full four-year cycle, enabling C4G to conduct a further in-depth analysis of trends and gain insight into the BDSP sector. Into the future, C4G will continue to provide insights and better understanding of the BDSP sector across regional hubs, both nationally and across the African continent.

The Post- Beta Phase data is beginning to show us some insights into some important questions. The first question assesses the BDSP programmes that perform the best. Following this, is an evaluation of the types of SMMEs that get the most benefit from BDSPs. Lastly, C4G assessed the national economic benefit of supporting SMMEs.

In line with any research process, there are limitations to the method. C4G believes that the first limitation of the process is that the sample size remains limited. Secondly, the observation process is not as yet entirely optimal as it does not cover the full business cycle, and it may be too soon to assess the actual impact. Other limitations include different timeframes that data was extracted and that the findings are based on data contributed by willing BDSP participants.

Despite these limitations, there are exciting insights currently being observed from the data provided, aspects of which feature in the annual report that is available from October and include:

  • Reasons why SMMEs close down;
  • Correlation between the survival of businesses and revenue growth; and
  • Trends surrounding the profitability of SMMEs;

The Pilot and Beta tests were vital in developing the C4G platform which is being continuously refined and reviewed. The front end has a directory of the BDSP partners who share their data with the C4G platform. The back end provides individual and benchmarking reports, as well as an annual anonymised report of the sector.

C4G has over the years conducted workshops with stakeholders to obtain feedback and aligned the critical question framework in the interest of the market. Details of the findings will be available from the 2018 C4G Report due to be released in October 2018