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Today's Top Entrepreneurship and Business Stories (13 September)

Research Reveals That Economic Volatility Biggest Challenge For 68% Of SA Small Businesses, SA Fintech Industry Pioneers Partner To Further Disrupt Payment Space, and more


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Research Reveals That Economic Volatility Biggest Challenge For 68% Of SA Small Businesses

68% of South Africa’s small business owners see economic volatility as their biggest challenge, according to research from Xero.

The research, conducted in partnership with World Wide Worx (WWW), is based on a survey of 411 small business owners and also reveals that 35% of the country’s entrepreneurs are kept awake at night by cashflow worries, while 23% worry about future sales.

Despite economic uncertainty, South Africa’s small business owners remain optimistic about the challenges ahead: 40% predict company growth over the coming year, while 45% expect their organisation to stay the same size.

The rate of technology adoption is also increasing: 49% of South Africa’s small business owners say that technology is essential to the running of their business, while 74% use mobile apps for business daily. 

Other key findings from the research reveal:

  • 89% of small business owners are confident in managing their companies’ finances.
  • 92% of small business owners have not missed a tax deadline.
  • 89% say the small business department has not helped their business.
  • 48% want the government to provide more funding.
  • 43% think the government should grant tax breaks for their business.
  • In 2017, small business plan to invest in marketing (36%), equipment (28%) and product development (22%).

Speaking of the results, Darren Upson, EMEA Director Small Business, Xero, comments: “Small business owners face turbulent times ahead, but this country’s entrepreneurs are nothing if not resilient. In fact, 40% still expect to grow this year. It’s those businesses able to adapt to these challenging circumstances that will succeed regardless of economic volatility.”

Vusi Thembekwayo, CEO of MyGrowthFund and Iconoclast Knowledge Bureau, comments: “It’s been a difficult year for South Africa’s enterprise community, and I say that as a card-carrying member. As economic turmoil has intensified, the challenges facing businesses of all sizes have multiplied – with small businesses especially being affected. Technological nous, agility, and adaptability will be key to navigating the choppy waters of the next few years, and the country’s small businesses have them in droves.”

Upson concludes: "The local small business community is determined to succeed and rise above the current economic climate. They have the necessary skills and ambition to do this, and as such, it’s not altogether surprising that they’re not only looking to survive, but are actively pursuing growth."

The full report available here: https://www.xero.com/za/campaigns/state-of-small-business/

SA Fintech Industry Pioneers Partner To Further Disrupt Payment Space

Two of South Africa’s first financial technology companies have announced a strategic business relationship that is set to change the fintech payment space. Traderoot and Sureswipe have made available a quick, comprehensive and PCI compliant payment platform that reverses the relationship SMEs and merchants have with traditional financial institutions and places control of business processes in their own hands. 

Sureswipe’s MD Paul Kent says that this new approach to payment transactions is set to disrupt the current mindset of the industry, as merchants no longer have to be locked into single relationships with large financial institutions that dictate terms and conditions of their business processes.

 According to Traderoot’s CEO, Eugene von Engelhardt, this innovative payment platform allows the SME, merchant, company, corporate or community owner to streamline systems to meet their specific business needs, while remaining completely compliant and incorporating all their partners of choice. 

Says Kent: "Our partnership with Traderoot allows us to evolve our services and technology to accommodate the latest digital payment methods and what consumers want in terms of mobile and wallets."

von Engelhardt explains that Traderoot was one of the earliest adopters of the Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS) program which is the global security standard created by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) and has enabled SureSwipe to expand into multiple regions and geographies.

"This payment platform is not only scalable, it is also future-proof because it seamlessly integrates new and emerging payment technologies such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Tap and Go, Pay Later, tokens and loyalty vouchers," he says.

Says Kent: "By adopting a ubiquitous platform, the banks become another supplier in the chain, and merchants can adopt a much more agile and customer-centric approach, driven by what the consumer wants while future-proofing their business to ensure that new technologies don’t derail operations, but can be easily adopted.

"Sureswipe’s deployment of the Traderoot platform has opened up the market to us, as the customer engagement model is simple. As a result, acquisition has become easier and completely transparent as the platform is all inclusive. It addresses all merchants, financial institutions, and POS systems and removes friction points so customers can retain all current relationships," he adds.

The new platform is available to merchants and their partners in South Africa and in global markets.

Founded in 2000, Traderoot is an established innovator in the payment market, delivering a robust agnostic platform that enables banks, multiple vendors, merchants and retailers to talk to each other in a ubiquitous manner and deliver transactions quickly and securely to multiple platforms.

Sureswipe is the first independent South African fintech company to bring card payment solutions to smaller businesses as far back as 2008.

Kent says Traderoot’s platform facilitated the recent launch of Sureswipe’s integrated card-payment and POS solution, targeting not only the SME market, but also larger retailers and FMCG companies. 

"Our integrated system brings high-end quick and simple reconciliation and transaction matching by transaction type at the end of each day, obviating recons on multiple card machines, separate POS systems, cash and vouchers etc.

"Another benefit is that payment transactions take place in real-time – 2 seconds – which means that there is no more customer queuing due to problematic networks or banks being offline, enhancing the customer experience and increasing turnover."

Study: Tech Spend On Healthcare Delivery To Top $800m In Five Years

Annual spending on CAD (computer aided diagnosis) systems will reach $800m globally by 2022, as AI (artificial intelligence) startups exert greater impact on healthcare delivery, a new report says.

Driven by the improved accuracy and usability of CAD systems, this will result in faster and more accurate diagnoses for patients, as well as reduced pressure on doctors. By 2022, 28.4-million chronic disease scans will be fed into first-line CAD systems annually.

The Digital Health: Vendor Analysis, Emerging Technologies & Market Forecasts 2017-2022 found that AI is increasingly being applied to a varied range of use cases, from powering chatbots to understanding patients’ symptoms or interpreting genomic data sets.

It found that despite emerging use cases, the use of AI for CAD systems was still the most compelling, as it can generate significant cost savings, forecast at $126m for first-line CAD systems in 2022.

The report found that AI will be utilised in big data analytics solutions, allowing the processing of more complex datasets, such as doctors’ notes in an EHR (electronic health record). AI, EHR systems and analytics platforms will increasingly be integrated into one system.

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