Dragons' Den judge urges S.Africa to invest in small businesses


This idea could be critical to the country’s National Development Plan which seeks to ensure the economy thrives by 2030 on the back of small businesses.

(READ MORE: We need to deliver on the National Development Plan now: Zuma)

The United Kingdom built over 20,000 businesses following an almost two billion rand investment by the government.


While speaking to CNBC Africa, Caan said if South Africa and the United Kingdom do not create sustainable jobs for their respective economies then both of countries would fail.

“The common thing between the United Kingdom and South Africa is job creation. This is at the forefront of responsibilities of our government,” Caan said. 

“I don’t think it’s an easy thing to promote businesses, as in any country, you need a customer to pay you, products to deliver and one has to get up in the morning and work.”

Commenting on the UK government’s approach on the promotion of small businesses which allows Caan direct access to political leadership, he said the gesture was an expression of the country’s commitment.

“All this illustrates the importance the UK government has placed on the initiative, they recognise that to give this initiative visibility the prime minister should be directly involved,” he said.

“You need the right people on both sides of the table – government and business, running the scheme and also people responsible for ensuring the implementation.”

Caan adds that, across all three parties, he meets with top officials within government who have interest on what is happening including the royal family.

He warns that, if such initiatives fail to have the right ears in government then with bureaucracy becomes a major stumbling block. 

(WATCH VIDEO: How critical is small businesses ministry)

Caan urged upcoming entrepreneurs to have a compelling proposition saying aspirant entrepreneurs should start from the point of having a desire and a need, something they believes can be achieved.

He added that for those in business, the challenge was not necessarily on creating or inventing something new.

“Success is not going to come to you, you have to go out and make it happen. There are no shortcuts to being a successful entrepreneur.”