Bay chamber, Standard Bank extend partnership for landmark entrepreneurship desk Bay chamber, Standard Bank extend partnership for landmark entrepreneurship desk
The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and Standard Bank have extended their partnership for the Chamber’s landmark Entrepreneurship Desk. Standard Bank sponsored the Desk... Bay chamber, Standard Bank extend partnership for landmark entrepreneurship desk

The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and Standard Bank have extended their partnership for the Chamber’s landmark Entrepreneurship Desk.

Standard Bank sponsored the Desk when it was first launched in 2022 and supported its initiatives to ensure its sustainability.

“We are extremely delighted that our anchor partner Standard Bank is committed to supporting the Entrepreneurship Desk, a landmark intervention that continues to provide critical support to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Metro. This is pivotal as MSMEs have a significant role to play in South Africa,” says Lunga Mjodo, Chamber’s Business Information Manager.

He further highlights that the challenges MSMEs face are well documented and these include a high failure rate among new enterprises, restricted access to finance, and a skills deficit.

“These inefficiencies and challenges prohibit these MSMEs from taking their rightful place by addressing high unemployment, widening poverty gap, high crime levels, and an economy that is growing slower than the required pace. Therefore, developing and supporting MSMEs cannot be overstated,” says Mjodo.

Since its inception, the Desk has awarded two MSMEs with the Entrepreneur of the Year title based on their exponential growth and has further facilitated funding opportunities, linked MSMEs in distress with pro bono service providers for one-on-one consultations, introduced the Entrepreneurship Desk accelerator programme, facilitated trade opportunities, created business to business linkages, and hosted various workshops designed to upskill the MSMEs.

To date, 250 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are registered with the Desk and receive tailored support to sustain their businesses for further growth and job creation. The businesses are 65% black-owned, and 52% are female-owned, and employ 1507 employees. They have a combined annual turnover of over R338 million. 

Brenda Moduka, managing director of Atlega for Women Projects Enterprise which is registered with the Desk, says her company joined the Entrepreneurship Desk in July 2022. 

“It’s one of the best decisions I have taken to date to impact the growth of my company. Through the Desk, we have had access to the Thinkubate programme, received assistance with our IR compliance and also restructured the company’s strategy and expanded our clientele in the process. We also moved from a 200m2 space to 500m2 space through linkages secured through the Chamber,” says Moduka.

Commenting on the partnership, Leigh-Anne De Witt, Standard Bank’s Executive Head for Business Clients Coverage in the Eastern Cape says they are excited to be spearheading the Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme in collaboration with the Chamber and other stakeholders.

”There is an increasing need to inform and empower business owners with information that will enable and grow their businesses. The programme is aimed at addressing key challenges faced by small businesses in areas of management, compliance and information on how to access funding as well as other financial solutions to ensure business sustainability.

“The workshops expose the entrepreneurs to our wealth management specialists who elaborate on topics such as Succession Planning, Investment Management as well as Risk Management. MSMEs can also look forward to a free financial needs analysis including information on our Business Solar Loan offering, Thinkubate mentorship programme and Enterprise Development solutions” says De Witt.

This continued partnership between the Chamber and Standard Bank exemplifies a commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and driving economic empowerment in the region, ultimately contributing to South Africa’s broader socio-economic development goals.

Antoinette Panton

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