SME Toolkit South Africa: The All-in-one Resource for SMEs

Posted on February 20th, 2018
Business Skills & Planning

SMEToolkitSAIn 2007, Business Partners Limited, a specialist risk finance company, launched the SME Toolkit under a license agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Since its launch, Business Partners Limited bought the rights to the SME Toolkit branding, thus obtaining ownership of the toolkit in 2017.

Today, the SME Toolkit SA is considered to be one of the most comprehensive sources of support and information for SMEs in the country. With over 3.4 million visitors viewing 8.4 million pages since its inception, and over 8 700 users currently registered to receive the site’s newsletter, it is apparent that the toolkit has firmly established itself as an invaluable resource for South African SMEs.

Addressing a need

To start a business, entrepreneurs do not only need access to adequate finance, they also require access to the information and support specific to their business needs and goals. In fact, entrepreneurs often cite a lack of access to information and support services as one of the bigger problems they face when attempting to start and operate a business.

In general, the average small business in South Africa has a limited or non-existent budget with which to hire experts (business coaches or mentors) or take courses to obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully run their business. Many entrepreneurs also lack the training and experience, in general business skills such as bookkeeping or accounting, required to manage the aspects of their business that fall outside of their industry-specific skills.

The SME Toolkit SA addresses this need for easily-accessible information by providing all entrepreneurs with readily-available business resources that can be used to minimise their skills and knowledge gaps, at no cost.

SME Toolkit SA

As a resource, the SME Toolkit SA acts as an all-in-one information centre or “Google for small business”. It does so by providing entrepreneurs and small business owners with “how to” articles, business forms, free software tailor made for SMEs, online training, and information resources that have been created by leading experts in the industry such as Sanlam and Business Partners Limited.

Through these resources, individuals are able to improve their knowledge of all aspects of starting and managing a business, including creating an effective business plan, accounting, financial management, human resources, import and export, legal and insurance issues, marketing, sales, operations, and information technology.

The SME Toolkit SA also offers individuals various self-assessment exercises and tools that have been designed to equip entrepreneurs (and business owners) to take ownership of and actively engage in problem-solving within their enterprises and proactively implement strategies to avoid potential problems.

The impact of the toolkit

By providing entrepreneurs and business owners with the necessary skills and knowledge, the SME Toolkit SA helps them better understand their business in particular and what makes businesses successful in general. The fact that these resources are free to any entrepreneur with an internet connection means that the toolkit also saves individuals the costs associated with obtaining these skills and tools through traditional avenues while still ensuring access to high-quality expertise. As a result, small business owners have stated that they consider the toolkit to be useful, relevant, and comprehensive, as well as a place where they can find all of the answers to their organisational and operational questions.

On a national level, the SME Toolkit South Africa works to support, promote, and increase levels of entrepreneurship in South Africa. This is evident in the nature of the toolkit, which is a product of Business Partners Limited’s Enterprise Development division. The division aims to promote and develop entrepreneurship and, in doing so, working towards creating new SMEs in the country and supporting their sustainability (through socio-economic development and mentorship initiatives).

SMEs play a vital role in increasing job and wealth creation in South Africa, and are therefore key facilitators of growth within the economy. The SME Toolkit SA simply aims to better equip SMEs in this endeavour. To learn more about the toolkit, visit