Banking on small and medium-sized enterprises

The small, micro and medium enterprises have become a national focus area in South Africa, with many state and private institutions wanting to understand this complex ecosystem. Access to finance has been a popular narrative for the lack of growth of this sector, but it has many friction points that all contribute to the current state of SME development.

There is a perception that banks do not do enough to service SMEs, which was compounded during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the uptake on the loans proffered by government through the banking industry were lower than expected. What has been found in this research is that understanding the complexity of the SME sector is key for pragmatic and implementable solutions.

Due to the lack of a cohesive database of SMEs and their needs, whether formal or informal, a comprehensive understanding of what SMEs require to grow their businesses in various phases, is not always visible to those that support SME development. It is critical that government, the financial services sector and others in the SME ecosystem commit to ongoing collaboration to provide a meaningful understanding of the changing needs of this sector.


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