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Thread: Small business week

  1. #1
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Small business week

    Small Business Week 2007 is happening at the CTICC this year 16-18 August. I think I'm going to go down and have a look, anyone interested in meeting up there on one of the days?
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Ouch! I'm in Gauteng for a conference on those dates. It sounds really interesting, though. I hope some of our members here are able to put their hand up. It's fun going to things like this with some company.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Anyone interesting in joining me? I'm going to be going on Saturday morning. I was thinking that we could meet for breakfast before, and then go over to the conference. Please let me know if you'll be coming.

    Breakfast @ 08h30, place still to be decided.
    Followed by visit to Small Business Week Expo at CTICC.
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    Email problem RKS Computer Solutions's Avatar
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    Duncan, maybe you could mention TheForumSA to a few people... I won't be able to make it, 1700km journey is out of the question right now....

    And do report back if you don't mind!

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I'll do a punt in our weekly update. It'll be short notice, but worth a shot.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    I'll do a punt in our weekly update. It'll be short notice, but worth a shot.
    Just to be clear, it is next week Saturday, 18 August.
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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Are their any direct questions or issues that you would like me to try to find out about? Here are some of the things on offer,

    Small Business Week facilitates direct access to:

    * Business opportunities, including access to finance (financial institutions), market access (government, parastatal, and private) and capacity building (business development service providers).
    * Facilitation of Business Linkages via a Content Management System (CMS) based database and linkages program both before, during and after the event
    * Skills development by way of a comprehensive seminar and conference programme
    I don't really understand what the issues are around SETAs, but if someone wants to explain, maybe I can try to corner someone on the issues that small businesses are facing.
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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Wow, I had a really great time at the expo. I was exposed to some interesting businesses, but the thing that excited me the most were the government backed organisations, and what they are offering to people.

    I would say that there were basically four categories of exhibitioners,
    • Franchisors, or people selling business equipment
    • Service providers such as labour lawyers and staffing solutions
    • Financial institutions
    • Government, or government backed organisations


    I spent most of my time talking to the franchisors or business people, and the goverment organisations. I was mainly just asking about what they did, how their businesses run, what programmes are on offer, what finance is available and so on. There seem to be some really good programmes on offer for entrepreneurs and SMMEs.

    I asked lots of questions (one of my favourite things to do ) and learnt a lot about their businesses, and how they are marketing them and so on.

    When I introduced The Forum SA, there was generally quite a lot of positive interest, mainly from the government back organisations — especially when they heard that it was free! I'm really hoping that we get some of the government people here to represent their organisations.

    Here is a brief run down of the people I spoke to and what they do:

    Franchisors and business opportunities
    1. Toilet friend: one of the busier stands. They have an international patent for their toilet odour remover. You can get a dealership or sign up for their network marketing option, which seems like network marketing done right (in my opinion).
    2. Earn as you go, part of GreenTree: basically a network marketing way of selling airtime, with franchises available.
    3. JG Electronics: Sell printing equipment for printing onto mugs, tiles, and so on, which are aimed at the corporate gifting and tourist industry.
    4. Wheelie clean bins: He has developed a wheelie bin cleaning device, which he sells as a franchise.
    5. Surf the Web: public internet vending terminals.
    6. Vuvuzela Communications: I was really impressed with these guys. They are three young guys who have developed this internet vending terminal aimed at developing communities by giving entrepreneurs a chance to effectively buy a franchise (which is a terminal). They are involved with some of the government youth development organisations, and have a nice well finished product that they keep adding value to. The government obviously backs them, because they are helping to create jobs.
    7. Hlumisa small business solutions: they offer a variety of support services to small business, like setting up accounting systems (they install and train people on quickbooks), helping to develop business plans, business administration and quite a bit more. They are accredited by some of the government programmes, which allows you to access their services at very low rates (government programmes subsidise the service - I'll explain more about that soon).


    Government, or government backed organisations
    • IDC: Loans at interest rates of prime + 1%. You only need to have 2% or the loan value yourself (i.e. R1mil loan from them, you need to have R20k). Main focus is looking for businesses that will create employment.
    • Umsobomvu: Offer micro finance (<R100k), SMME funding (<R5mil) and service vouchers to people aged 18-35. Basically you have to go to them with a business plan, and quotes. They then pay the supplier directly and offer reasonable interest rates on the loan amount. The voucher programme seems to be one of the most useful things I found out about today.
    • The Business Place: Sec 21 which is effectively an agent for Umsobomvu. They put you in contact with the service providers where you can use your Umsobomvu vouchers to get services like, accounting, legal, business plans, web development, marketing and much more. Basically you can get four vouchers. You pay R200 towards the service (which is nothing!). For example, if I want a legal contract drawn up, I can go and apply for my voucher (application forms look pretty straight forward), then they give me the voucher which is for value up to R4000 for legal services (other amounts for other services). There are accredited service providers who you then use. Once you are happy with the work, you sign the voucher and the service provider redeems it. They also do quality checking on the service providers work.
    • SEDA: Offering is very much like The Business place, but for everyone, and bigger. They work in a similar style. They do not provide finance, but will pay for services that you need. I think that their services are totally free, and there is not a limit on them. They are part of the DTI. This is probably the group that most of us want to look at what they can offer us. The funding is bigger than other groups, and as I said, totally free. Your (and other peoples) tax money pays for it. They have different sections for different levels of business. Please check out their website. They'll be contacting me within the next week, so I'll give some more feedback after speaking to them.


    These programmes, in my opinion, are really great programmes to make use of. You can figure out how to best use them, and then when you need to access them (e.g. launching a product, need help marketing your business and so on), then you can get your services effectively for free through their service providers. This is great! A huge cost saving, which means you can direct the money you have elsewhere. I am definitely going to access these programmes when the time is right...maybe now is even the right time.
    Last edited by duncan drennan; 18-Aug-07 at 04:56 PM.
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  9. #9
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Here are some photos.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    I think that promoting The Forum SA went well. The idea is certainly one that seems to get people a bit interested. I'm really hoping that we get some people joining in this group as a result of the marketing. The Business Place was very interested, as they do entrepreneur development and offer free internet access to people. The idea of having a forum like this really appealed to the lady we spoke to.

    I think there would even be value in The Forum SA being an exibitor at these kind of shows, but it would have to be well thought out, and the value proposition would have to be strong.

    I think that the expo attracts a lot of people looking for business opportunities, and those people need entrepreneurial support — and that is a large part of what this forum is about.
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