Building a small business is 'an extreme sport'. But a mindset shift by asset managers to start investing in startups can support promising small enterprises, which, in turn, should use their nimbleness to access markets that are hard to penetrate.
This is according to entrepreneur and chartered accountant Andile Khumalo, speaking about the importance of supporting small businesses at the launch of an innovative new campaign, which will see leading insurer, Hollard, sharing its ‘big advertising’ spaces with 12 budding SMMEs over the next six months.
The idea is to help these small enterprises thrive in the long term, bolstering South Africa’s economy in the process.
Hollard launched its Big Ads for Small Business campaign on a pioneering, futuristic SMME exhibition platform. The immersive virtual world was designed in graphic detail to allow participants, through their avatars, to move around the main stage area and exhibition rooms, listen to keynote speeches and approach small-business owners at their branded booths for chats.
Attendees also had the chance to network extensively, read about the various small businesses and watch videos in dedicated reading and viewing areas.
‘Big ads’ are any big-budget advertisements that small businesses would otherwise struggle to afford, including billboards, street-pole advertising, radio and television spots and digital ad spaces. Each selected business will benefit from roughly R1m in advertising spend, not counting agency fees and the cost of creative material.
Considering the ‘relatively small’ local market, Khumalo urged small businesses to consider expanding their operations beyond the borders of South Africa, saying: “Every big business out there was once a small business, just like you.”
The other keynote speeches were delivered by Metro FM radio show host Mo Flava and Heavy Chef learning platform CEO Fred Roed.
Flava said the story of small businesses was “the story of hope”. He had already used radio, social media and other digital spaces to give deserving entrepreneurs a platform, but it was important to get more success stories out there. “There’s power in using our networks,” he said, encouraging participants to use their own platforms to boost local brands they like.
“Our core belief is that entrepreneurs can change the world for the better,” added Roed, using the example of South Korea, which in just 60 years engineered a turnaround from having the GDP equivalent of Rwanda to being a “future-based, digital society”. He told the small businesses present: “You guys are the change we want to see.”
Hollard chief marketing officer Heidi Brauer said Hollard’s purpose is to enable more people to create and secure a better future. This is one of the reasons why Hollard had decided – in tough times, with many small businesses suffering – on a ‘better way’ to do a campaign, by sharing its advertising space with small businesses.
The insurer wants to be a catalyst for positive and enduring change, she stressed. “We want to inspire others to do the same.”
The aim is, ultimately, to provide the SMMEs with not only marketing support but also business tools through partners such as Heavy Chef to ensure their long-term growth. This will create a collective knock-on effect of better futures, for communities and for South Africa’s economy.
The selected small businesses were chosen from an initial pool of 292 SMMEs proposed by Hollard employees. Criteria included whether they would benefit from the campaign, could handle a potential rapid increase in business and were spread across the country.
The 12 businesses are:
African Accent, a spaza shop distribution hub
Busanimen Tailors, providing suits and formal wear for special events
Ground One Coffee, a coffee company that also provides related services
Haircelerate, a local hair-care brand that promotes love and care for your hair
Journey Leather, a leather brand celebrating local craft
Moja Chicken, a Black-owned grilled-chicken restaurant
Ronewa Creations, a landscaping service
SchoolHub, a secure school payments platform
Thesis Lifestyle, a streetwear brand
Next Level Learning, an early childhood and foundation phase education provider
Established in 1980, the Hollard Insurance Group (Hollard) provides short-term and life insurance as well as investment products to a diverse customer base including individual consumers, commercial entities, and corporate clients. It ranks among a growing number of companies advocating an inclusive growth model, measuring its social dividends as well as its contribution to shareholders. Hollard’s organisational Purpose is to enable more people to create and secure a better future.
Hollard South Africa and Hollard International wrote a combined premium income in excess of R25bn in the year to June 2019 across short-term and life insurance operations in 11 countries, including South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Since inception, partnership has been at the heart of its business model, with the group today boasting over 100 ventures across the insurance value chain. Each one demonstrates the Hollard belief that there is always a better way and the idea of “win-win-win”, whereby Hollard, the partner and the consumer all win through this spirit of collaboration and co-creation.
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