1. Leverage your size to their benefit: Help SMEs by giving them favourable terms on raw materials; allowing an SME to pay bulk prices for small quantities will help them compete against larger businesses. This is not a handout, but can prove to be a huge enabler for SMEs.
  2. Stick to specifics and pay on time: When ordering something from an SME, give a clear specification on what you expect from the deal. Include a reasonable deadline. This will allow them to up their game. And please pay on time! Nothing constrains cash flow more than late payment.
  3. Mentor meaningfully: Any successful business person will testify to the importance of mentors on their road to success. The value of mentoring by someone who has been there, done that, is immeasurable.
  4. Fund SMEs wisely: Funding is not a silver bullet to an entrepreneur’s growth challenges, but a smart entrepreneur with a marketable business plan and the discipline and determination to put in the work can post growth figures well upwards of 300 percent in the year after they raised capital. These are the entrepreneurs you need to support.
  5. Buy from small local businesses: South Africa’s small businesses have an important role to play in the development of the socio-economic landscape. By supporting these businesses, corporates and entrepreneurs become mutually dependent and share the value of their business relationship.
  6. Visit the SME you are funding: Physically seeing where and how your funding is being used makes a tangible impact on the funder-recipient relationship, elevating it from a ‘box ticking’ exercise to a philanthropic experience.
  7. Streamline your BEE rating: Seek a simple solution to improving your BEE scorecard points. An incubation hub is ideal for this.
  8. Sponsor an SME: Corporate sponsorship partnerships can make or break an entrepreneur.
  9. Fund a reputable incubator hub: An incubator can and does make a significant impact on the lives of entrepreneurs, as the four pillars of support (infrastructure, marketing, growth &learning and back office support services) provide them with the best shot at success. Black entrepreneurs being guided and supported in an incubation programme are also better equipped to sustain success.
  10. Contribute to growing SA’s productive capacity: Incubation programmes have many of the ingredients that enable small businesses to grow. The thriving eco-system of like-minded entrepreneurs’ networking, sharing ideas and sourcing from each other is often cited as one of the key benefits of the programme.