This is according to Thami Magazi, executive manager of consumer markets at Telkom, speaking at the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) Annual Convention.
He said that SMEs are the most appropriate solution to combat unemployment in South Africa as they employ over 60 per cent of the local workforce and contribute around 55 per cent towards the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“SMEs are an engine for growth as they create employment and transform the economy,” he said.
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Information and communications technology (ICT) therefore plays a critical role in growing the economy as it allows small businesses to reinvent and educate themselves about important online platforms such as social media and the World Wide Web (www).
“ICT can do so much for the growth of an economy because it’s about enriching the lives of people and growing potential,” he explained.
“Twitter, for example has democratised information by giving a voice to marginalised people while the WWW, Facebook and Linked In are weaved into our lives and have transformed the way we do business.”
He added that according to research conducted in 2013 by the Boston Consulting Group, tech-savvy SMEs outperform their peers in the marketplace.
These businesses were able to increase their annual revenue 15 percentage points faster than companies with lower levels of technology adoption and created jobs twice as fast as other small businesses from 2010 to 2012.
“Technology increases productivity, optimises cost and improves efficiencies in the workplace,” explained Magazi.
“For example, you no longer have to send employees on flights for meetings as they can conduct video conferences from their office. This cuts costs, improves productivity and is less time- consuming.”