FNB Business is conducting a series of engagements with township entrepreneurs across South Africa’s biggest townships.
The Global Entrepreneurship Week engagements have started in Tembisa and Soweto townships in Gauteng and will be followed by uMlazi Township (KwaZulu Natalon) on 17 November before concluding at Khayelitsha (Western Cape) on 24 November 2017.
Mike Vacy-Lyle, CEO of FNB Business says this is an important dialogue for South Africa as banks and township entrepreneurs need to work together to unlock opportunities for growth.
“We are taking a proactive step to listen to the unique needs of township entrepreneurs and this will enable us to create solutions geared towards these business needs. While we have extensive banking infrastructure in townships, we equally want to play an instrumental role in helping to formalise township enterprises. This is very important in the context of job creation as SMEs currently employ the majority of South Africans. ”
Vacy-Lyle says over the years, South African townships have proven that they can produce world class entrepreneurs yet a large number of SMEs in townships remain largely informal entities which limits access to funding. He says if township businesses are to grow and receive financial assistance, the formalisation of business entities is a bridge that must be crossed. By formal, it is meant that the SME is a registered entity, with a bank account and financials that are up to date at the very least.
The engagements with township entrepreneurs will touch on a broad set of issues that impact the entrepreneurs in their operating environment; including: transactional banking needs, access to various sources of funding as well as guidance from experts and entrepreneurs who have long been on the entrepreneurial journey.
“We are looking to gather information that will assist us in bringing the right financial products and services to township entrepreneurs. Most importantly, we want to better understand the difficulties and needs that keep these entrepreneurs awake at night,” concludes Vacy-Lyle