Finweek Cover Story: Shadow Economy

Happy 2014 world!

20/20 Insight has finally come on to social media. It’s been a long time coming, mainly because we couldn’t just do it for the sake of increasing the general noise level on the internet. That fact is, without a web presence a business is dead or dying, but we also have to serve a purpose to those who take the time to read us. And our purpose is this:

We are here to shed light on various support systems and initiatives that are developing businesses and entrepreneurs, n the country, including ours.

The motivation came from the cover page of the article published in the Finweek on the 2nd May 2013: SA’s Shadow Economy and why should know about it. It discussed the foreign owned Spaza shops that have mushroomed across the country, even in the most remote of areas. It has always been puzzling how people who had never been in South Africa before came to identify some of the very far flung market gaps, and were managing to slowly make a success having arrived in the country with nothing and seemingly starting from zero.

Well, as the article details, these are very organised efforts backed by large, and sometime government pockets and strategies.

A lot can be learnt from these networks. As South African we have plenty informal and sometimes formal networks with the potential to really boost our collective wellbeing. An example is our much loved Stokvels/ Societies we grew up around in the townships. These are potentially very fruitful support structure for communities that could be used to help organise bursaries for their members’

children or consumer groups to provide markets for local entrepreneurs and drive various initiatives. Churches and religious groups also possess such potential and have at times been used to that effect.

Government support abounds in the form of the National Development Plan, B-BBEE codes, The Jobs Fund, Youth Wage subsidy, IDC, NEF, etc.  The codes are driving corporate South Africa to also make concerted efforts to support local and especially black owned, and black women owned businesses.

Indications thus far are that the new B-BBEE Codes enacted on the 11th October 2013 are going to push corporate South Africa to get behind Black entrepreneurs with serious force and long term strategic way. It has simply become a survival imperative. Exciting times are ahead it seems.