by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE level of optimism among South African small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is at its highest in a decade.
However, the recent bout of load shedding could put a damper.
This is according to the First Quarter (Q1) 2022 SME Index conducted by specialist SME financier, Business Partners Limited.
The SME Index measures business confidence as it relates to labour laws, access to finance, state-level interventions and broader socioeconomic realities was indicative of an overwhelmingly positive sentiment in the first quarter of this year.
Overall, the results of the SME Index suggest that SMEs have weathered the worst of the pandemic.
Small businesses have confidence levels of 77 percent that the current economic conditions are conducive to business growth – a 24 percentage increase from Q4 of 2021 and a significant year-on-year (y/y) increase of 34 percentage points.
However, the confidence levels that business owners will find staff with the right skills and experience to facilitate the growth of their business has decreased by 5 percentage points y/y.
Business confidence levels within this context have showed a steady decline, having fallen by 14 percentage points in quarter four of 2021.
“All results point to the fact that South African SMEs are working hard to recover their pandemic losses,” said Business Partners Limited’s Financial Director, Rayna Dolphin.
The executive believes this is an encouraging finding that correlates strongly with the further lifting of lockdown restrictions during the first few months of the year.
“Now, as the SME Index highlights, a renewed focus needs to be placed on skills development and creating an enabling environment in which SMEs can thrive.”
SMEs are a key sector in South Africa as the country battles high unemployment.
– CAJ News