Ambitious SMEs looking to boost their growth prospects are in line to win a free listing on the JSE’s AltX exchange in a campaign to be known as Go4Growth. The prize is valued at R14-million, the largest prize of its kind yet offered in South Africa.
In addition, business software leader SAP will hand the winning company software valued at R1-million.
The Go4Growth campaign was announced in Sandton today by Derek Kudsee, director of SAP’s SME business in Africa. The ultimate winner will be the SME judged to be the most committed to growth.
Go4Growth is supported by four partners: SAP, the JSE, Exchange Sponsors, official sponsors of the AltX, and business consultancy firm SAP BusinessEdge.
Speaking at the launch announcement, Kudsee said the Go4Growth campaign aimed to provide further impetus and focus to the large sector of the SME market that had advanced beyond the start-up phase.
“There is a tremendous amount of support, advice, training and financing available to SMEs in South Africa. However, once you get past a certain size you become less eligible for this support,” said Kudsee. “The partners in the Go4Growth initiative believe that we need to find ways to boost SMEs that want to break through to a higher level of growth and profitability. A listing on the AltX has proven to be a great way to raise capital to fund growth.
“Yet, there are many successful and growth-oriented SMEs that appear to believe a listing is either not for them or beyond them. The Go4Growth campaign not only offers a tremendously attractive prize, but also a means for SMEs to understand better the listing process and their readiness for it,” he said.
Initial entry to the Go4Growth competition is straight forward through the entry form on the campaign’s website at www.go4growth.co.za
. Any SME that is looking to significantly boost its growth prospects is eligible to enter.
A panel of assessors from the Go4Growth partners will sort through the entries and begin the assessment process.
The prize of a listing on the AltX Exchange includes all fees, costs and other considerations which will be covered by the partners in Go4Growth.
Exchange Sponsors will advise the winner and handle all the pre-listing requirements – at no cost. SAP BusinessEdge will provide all qualifying entrants with free growth advisory services and insights into their own business. The level of these consulting services will escalate the further into the competition the entrant moves, thus every qualifying entry will gain some expert external insight.
The Go4Growth competition runs until 30 September. The winner will be announced at a gala banquet in mid-November.
Kudsee said SAP’s involvement in Go4Growth was prompted by an assessment of its progress since it entered the SME market two years ago.
“We have shown good growth in the SME sector in a relatively short time. Our involvement with SMEs has given us fresh insight into their ambitions and concerns. Ultimately the factor that drives SMEs is not dissimilar from that which motivates large enterprises – it is all about growth and profitability.”
Kudsee believes there is significant scope for SMEs that have outgrown their typical combination of accounting, CRM, logistics and other software packages to adopt solutions that position them for a fresh round of growth.
“If you have got strong growth ambitions as an SME, you really do not want to be concerned with whether you have got the right systems and processes. Getting this aspect right is a central element in building a stronger platform for accelerated growth.”
As a company, SAP is approaching the SME sector with a view to trebling its number of customers by 2010. This growth will be fuelled largely by SMEs, who already comprise 65% of the company’s global customer base.