Theme: “Women in Enterprise”

Welcome to the first edition of the Catalyst for Growth (C4G) newsletter, the C4G Monitor. The purpose of producing this newsletter is to keep you involved in the discussions on Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning and the role that it has in supporting the roll-out of Enterprise Development and Supplier Development in South Africa.

August 2018 was chosen as the month to launch the C4G Monitor to celebrate “Women in Enterprise” with a focus on entrepreneurship with a deliberate gender lens.

In aligning with the C4G mission, the newsletter seeks to offer a platform for players in the Enterprise Development ecosystem to interact and communicate in line with best practice, as well as share ideas and lessons learnt. In essence, it is a platform to drive innovation and offer support for those working together to build a vibrant and impactful ecosystem.

Join us and be a catalyst for growth.

Since its establishment in 2015, C4G has significantly grown and is poised for its next growth leap. April 2018 concluded a full year since the publication of its maiden Beta Report.

Reaching this milestone is a culmination of the work done during the Alpha and Beta stages, between 2012 and 2017, which respectively served as the pilot and framework testing phases. The current post-Beta stage is significant for a number of reasons:

  • We now have a strong base of more than 3400 Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) and over 47 Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs) to source useful data from.
  • We have strengthened our ability to analyse data from a more significant base to compare against findings from the Beta phase. We have increased our capacity to test and validate data so we can identify new insights to share with our partners operating in the ecosystem.

Looking at the bigger picture as to what South Africa needs to do to achieve economic growth, C4G and its partners places focus on the SMME market by identifying what factors support the growth and sustainability of SMMEs. Although the failure rate is estimated at 80% of SMMEs established, the ambitious National Development Plan (NDP) envisions 90% of the jobs created in the ecosystem to be generated by SMMEs. C4G provides the players in the ecosystem with the capability to benchmark and apply the evidence-based approach in their efforts to develop the small business sector.

The C4G Analytics platform seeks to equip key ecosystem actors with the ability to identify key actors that drive SMMEs to succeed and the areas where interventions can be implemented to secure a better outcome. Insights gleamed from the C4G analytics platform and reports should support SMMEs to grow their businesses and improve their contribution to the economy. It further assists corporate funders to shift beyond the ‘tick-a-box’ exercise when planning and executing enterprise and supplier development programmes.

The post-Beta era gives us an opportunity to reflect on our medium-to-long-term focus areas. Our future is rooted in providing a better service to our partners in the ecosystem. Some positive C4G developments this year include:

  • A revamp of the platform which is now more user-friendly and intuitive;
  • Increased and improved communication touchpoints such as websites and newsletters; and
  • A wider variety of products that stakeholders can access through a user license, that allows them access to the C4G analytics platform.

Another noteworthy contextual change is an expansion of the footprint from which data is sourced. Historically, Gauteng and the Western Cape were the two core areas where data gathering was strongest. During the Beta and post-Beta stages, there was evidence of more activity in other provinces. This is key, as it not only offers a bigger picture of what is happening across the country but also provides more leverage in identifying opportunities or linkages to the benefit of C4G partners. This increased footprint and data gathering capacity allow us to edge closer to being able to provide data analytics which is genuinely representative of the country from an SMMEs context.

Our partners are central to the process and include all stakeholders in our ecosystem, ranging from the government, SMMEs and corporates and BDSPs. Our goal is to continue sourcing more partnerships to contribute data that will further enhance and benefit the SMME ecosystem.

Since its establishment, C4G has built solid relationships with many stakeholders and we are grateful that more role players are aware of the platform’s ability to measure and benchmark SMME performance, which will have a far-reaching impact in the long-term. The reality is that the long-term impact of business development support (BDS) is what will drive the economy and improve the livelihoods of many South Africans.

The C4G 2018 Annual Report is scheduled for release in October this year. It will showcase critical developments of the past year, including:

  • A comparison and analysis of the post-Beta stage against the Beta data sets
  • An outline of the SMMEs that most benefitted from participating in programmes;
  • Trends around the performance of BDSPs and SMMEs; and
  • An outlook on job creation and economic growth, influenced by this sector.

Ultimately, our work creates an ecosystem that can steer the country, including the broader business sector towards the realisation that SMMEs can impact growth in the economy, create jobs and improve lives. C4G’s contribution, in terms of evidence-based data, not only empowers stakeholders in decision-making but provides insight and access to opportunities to improve their prospects of success in the long-term.

I hope that you enjoy the inaugural edition of the C4G Monitor. I invite you to send me your thoughts and insights on the C4G platform to help improve its overall offering.
Keep up the great work that you do to develop an impactful ecosystem for SMMES.

Sifiso Ndwandwe
Executive Director