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This month Chris Koen, Business Partners Limited Regional General Manager, discusses the South African tourism industry and it's possible re-awakening; we feature thriving tourism focused entrepreneurs Wilfred Chivell and Nan Roos in our success stories; Gerrie van Biljon looks at the internet and SMEs; and Business Partners Limited Property Management announces a recently acquired premises in the Eastern Cape.
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SME Business Bang
October 2012   |   Volume 4.6

Tourism in 2012: still grim, but with green shoots

The South African tourism industry is still emerging from a difficult slump, but there is a lot that existing businesses can do to survive and catch the next wave, says Business Partners Limited Regional General Manager Chris Koen. And there are even opportunities for new ventures, provided very careful thought is given to the market.

Overall, the conditions in the tourism industry have turned from just grim, to grim with green shoots. On the one hand, the accommodation industry still suffers from an oversupply of about 100 000 beds nationally – a hangover from the World Cup frenzy combined with a number of years of easy credit before the global recession. Locally, the downturn has effected domestic tourism badly.

Success story:
Building a whale of a business out of less than nothing

To say that Wilfred Chivell started his award-winning whale-watching and shark-cage-diving businesses with a single inflatable boat is not quite true. Actually, he started with less than nothing.

At the time, Wilfred was busy living through every business owner’s worst nightmare. The five brick and cement-works companies that he had built up in the Western Cape harbour town of Gansbaai were all wiped out when his biggest clients failed to pay their accounts due to a freeze in the construction industry in 1998.

He lost everything: property, businesses, home; his marriage fell apart, and his reputation was shattered. When your business goes down in South Africa, Wilfred found out, “people immediately assume you are either stupid or unethical”.

Success story:
Humble B&B grows into top boutique hotel

It is difficult to believe that the Battlefields Country Lodge started as a tiny six-room bed-and-breakfast five kilometres from the Dundee in the middle of Northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Over the past fourteen years it has turned into a 52-room boutique hotel, four conference venues, a private airstrip, a driving range, two restaurants and an amphitheatre - all this built up by a husband-and-wife team with “zero business training” (at least not of the formal kind).

Nan Roos remembers how her husband Lourens showed her a run-down little farm a few kilometres outside of their hometown Dundee where they ran an estate agency and auction business. He didn’t mention anything specifically about the place, but when she wondered aloud...

Blog: The internet and SMEs

By Gerrie van Biljon

Internet sales in SA contribute to R59 billion or 2% of the GDP of the country. How does that influence the position of small and medium enterprises?

An independent report, Internet matters: The Quiet Engine of the South African Economy, commissioned by Google offers some interesting findings:
  • South Africa had approximately 8.5-million internet users at the end of 2011 (a 25% growth from the previous year);
  • E-commerce is growing at a rate of about 30% a year;
  • About 410 000 SMEs have their own website (This means about 290 000 – 340 000 SMEs do not have this facility as yet)
  • SMEs with a website are far more likely to be highly profitable than those without
  • 150 000 SME (employing as many as 1.56 million people) will not survive without their website.
It is for this reason that Google has teamed up with Vodacom, the DTI and the Human Resources Development Council of South Africa to create...

Property: New premises acquired in the Eastern Cape region

Swartkops Industrial Park is located on the edge of Deal Party, in Port Elizabeth between Coega Harbour and central Port Elizabeth, with easy access to the N2.

The Industrial Park consists of 9 factories with a lettable space of 11 427m² used for purposes of warehousing, transport facilities and distribution operations.

The complex is fully let and Business Partners Limited Property Management would like to welcome on board the following tenants, namely: Genises Civils CC, Peters Papers (Pty) Ltd, Sunningdale Dairies, Freightmore Cape Town (Pty) Ltd, Trucking, Truck World Parts and Bazer Industries (Pty) Ltd.

Business Partners Limited Eastern Cape manages a number of buildings from East London to Mossel Bay. See our property listings on the Business Mechanics website for more details and availability. Business Partners Limited also has other properties throughout the country.

For enquiries or more information on letting, and management of properties in the Eastern Cape contact Sharon Lines on 041-367 1082.
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SME Index
The next Business Partners Limited SME Index is on its way.
We will be sending you an email in the next week asking you to take part in this, our second quarterly survey. It should not take more than ten minutes of your time and will go a long way in better understanding the unique position SMEs hold in SA.
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Business Partners Limited Graduate Internship Programme

Business Partners Limited is offering internship opportunities to recently graduated students looking for work experience in SME financing. The aim of the programme is to bridge the gap between academic study and workplace requirements.

It offers young, recently qualified, people with potential to gain practical work experience through structured training programmes that are relevant to small and medium business and finance sectors. In this way, it aims to prepare the interns who complete the programme for full time employment and give their career in SME finance a head-start.

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