SME confidence levels down as a result of economic uncertainty

Updated on 11 February 2016

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Today's top entrepreneurship and business stories (11 February)
The latest Business Partners Limited SME Index (BPLSI) Q4 2015 revealed a significant decline in confidence levels that the South African economy will be conducive for business growth in the next 12 months – a decrease of 6 percentage points from the third quarter to a recorded confidence level of only 51%.

“In 2015 SME owners faced challenges such as load shedding and the implications it brought about. As if the drought and water-shedding was not challenging enough, the broader economic events such as the firing and re-hiring of the Finance Minister, and a number of international developments – such as sluggish growth in global markets, adverse exchange rates and the lack of exports – all had a notable impact on SME owners’ confidence levels as they started preparing for 2016,” says Ben Bierman, Chief Financial Officer of Business Partners Limited.

The BPLSI also revealed a sharp decrease in business owners’ confidence levels relating to the ease of access to business finance in the next 12 months – a decline from 51% in the third quarter to 44% this quarter. Confidence levels are also down 9 percentage points year-on-year.

South Africa plans platinum economic zone
With 70% of platinum being produced in South Africa, the government is working towards opening a new industry-based special economic zone in North West, to look into beneficiation.

This is according to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, who participated in an investment dialogue held under the theme “Driving competitiveness and ensuring growth and stability”, hosted by Brand South Africa, at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town, this week.

The restructuring of the Chinese economy had led to its growth slowing down, which had resulted in a slump in the prices of commodities such as gold, platinum, iron ore and coal. This had affected many markets, including South Africa, a producer and exporter of minerals.

After the slump, South Africa could no longer afford to see itself just as a producer and exporter of mineral resources, Davies said. The special economic zone board would soon make a recommendation on the exact location of the zone. (

Orange launches the Entrepreneur Club for start-ups in Africa and the Middle East
Orange is launching the Entrepreneur Club, a new space for information in French and English devoted to entrepreneurs in Africa and the Middle East. The website is a source of information for entrepreneurs that puts them in touch with a variety of instruments from Orange that support entrepreneurship. The Entrepreneur Club also provides practical information and tools for company creation.

Entrepreneurs can find information on various aspects of running a business, including the legal environment, how-to sheets, best practices, tips and video verbatims.

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