SME SA Launches White Paper on SMEs’ Tech Use

Updated on 23 April 2020

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To find out why South African small business owners are not using technology at the levels that they should, SME South Africa has launched the white paper report, Advancing Technology Use Among South African SMEs to Accelerate Growth, sponsored by Telkom.
Half of South Africa’s SME owners indicate that technology poses a challenge in the running of their businesses. This is according to the SME Landscape ReportAn Assessment of South Africa’s SME Landscape: Challenges, Opportunities, Risks & Next Steps’ 2018/2019 (SME Landscape Report).

The white paper examines how digital technology and connectivity can help level the playing field for small businesses to compete with their larger counterparts by enabling SMEs to access new markets, reduce business costs, and improve efficiency and competitiveness.

The white paper is based on findings in the SME Landscape Report which was commissioned by the Adclick Africa Media Group. The survey, conducted by independent research consulting firm, In On Africa (IOA), surveyed 1157 South African SME owners in SME South Africa’s database.

The white paper report examines how digital technology and connectivity can help level the playing field for small businesses to compete with their larger counterparts.

Technology use among SMEs – barriers & access

Through the white paper, SME South Africa looks to increase the use of technology by SMEs and drive awareness and interest in technology products and/or services among South African small business owners.

Despite the transformative potential of technology, the SME Landscape Report notes that many SMEs in South Africa have not capitalised on technology to grow their businesses. In fact, South Africa’s small businesses are using outdated technology solutions rather than investing in innovative future technologies.

The white paper also explores the role of technology stakeholders in getting small business owners online.

Quoted in the white paper, Professor Barry Dwolatzky, founder and director of Wits University’s Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE), suggests that while technology products exist for small business owners, they may need some hand holding when making a purchase.

“Some of these offerings are free or appropriately priced. The problem, however, is that there are too many choices and very limited assistance in making the correct choice,” he says.

Gugu Mjadu, Executive General Manager: Marketing at Business Partners Limited, says there is a need to identify ways to support business owners, starting with providing cost effective and reliable [Internet] access wherever business owners are located.

Also quoted in the white paper is Luvuyo Rani, co-founder and MD of Silulo Ulutho Technologies.

More highlights from the SME Landscape Report

  • Of the 50% of SME owners who indicated that technology poses a challenge to their business, 60% cited access to stable and reliable internet as the principal obstacle.
  • According to the SME Landscape Report, cloud technology has contributed to the growth of many SME businesses. However, of the SME owners surveyed, 35% of respondents said they don’t use cloud services at all, 27% said they utilise cloud service all the time, while 19% said they use cloud technology sometimes.
  • Only 20% of small business owners use e-commerce in their businesses on a regular basis, according to the SME Landscape Report, coupled with 22% who make payments online “sometimes”.

Click here to download a FREE copy of the report and learn more about the use of technology by South African SMEs.

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