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Eskom failing SA's small businesses

Eskom failing SA's small businesses

Neither state owned enterprises nor the Small Business Development Ministry were spared at a presentation of the results of a 2015 SME survey hosted in Johannesburg on 30 July.

The principal analyst of the 2015 SME survey, Arthur Goldstuck bemoaned the negative impact that state owned enterprise (SOEs) are having on small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) following a countrywide survey of no less than 1400 SMEs.

Goldstuck says SOEs, including Eskom, are failing small businesses and something should be done to reverse the damage immediately.

"There are quite a few aspects to how Eskom is letting down SME's by not recognising the idea of priority areas, for example business areas. Clearly in the interest of the economy load shedding can be far more intelligently applied to ensure that areas of extensive business activity should be protected. "

Goldstuck and his team found that frequent and prolonged power failures ranks as the most concerning issue for SMEs. Power failures were cited by 71% of respondents as the one issue that keeps them awake at night.

"Eskom should be communicating and not just making top down declarations. They need to actually find ways to make life a little easier for SMEs," said Goldstuck who added that the SBD ministry has an ambiguous role and is not needed as the DTI can attend to its focus areas.

Goldstuck presented the findings the moment he arrived in Johannesburg from Nairobi where he had attended another event and he told ITWeb Africa that the rest of Africa is not in a better position.

"Power supply is very unreliable and that means that they can't even plan for when it will be going out or when it will be available and therefore across the continent the concept of preparing for power failures is most critical for SMEs."

The 2015 SME survey also shows that SMEs are becoming more technology savvy and mature in their use of IT as evidenced by an uptake of cloud and similar services.

The survey also predicts that 50% of SMEs will be using cloud in 2016 although some of them may not know what the cloud is and whether they are using it or not.

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