Investing in people: a prime opportunity for small businesses in 2017

Improving the practical skills of employees is the solution to securing innovative growth. 

Any business starting out faces a mountain of hurdles to climb on the path to success. From ensuring funding to properly bringing a product to market, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) find themselves taking risks and working hard to achieve goals. However, when it comes to the human core of the business model; the people working within it, the risk becomes trickier to navigate.

Netherlands Consul General, Bonnie Horbach, explains that many SMEs do not have the resources, the time or both to adequately train Human Resources (HR) departments and incubate new recruits. Without a strong support structure of well-trained employees, SMEs may never get off the ground and truly realise their potential. Without the right staff to hire and keep intelligent and aspiring minds, a SME can lose its steam quickly.

The key to solving this is to ensure that small to medium business owners upskill their junior recruits in much needed HR support and workplace skills training, both of which are vital to keep SMEs on the path to sustainable growth and success.

Ian Merrington, CEO of CiTi believes that with the advancement of tech start-ups in South Africa, there is no better time to be training staff with essential workplace skills. Thus, TenaCiTi is the missing link between aspiring SME operations and sustainable growth. The brainchild of CiTi and #cocreateSA, an initiative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, TenaCiTi’s seven month programme aims to bridge the gap between skill development and SME growth.

With a high rate of unemployment, it is critical to nurture SMEs and ensure that the technology sector blossoms. TenaCiTi, through various courses facilitated by industry professionals, provides practical training for employees; an essential that many SMEs need to ensure long-term growth to transform themselves into key players within their industry.

CEO and founder of Yoco, Katlego Maphai, is a big believer in investing in people to grow business. Firstly, innovation starts with your mode of operation. Thanks to easy access to technology, scale is no longer an obstacle when it comes to business. However, focussing on perfecting your mode of operation is an important component to its success. If done right, it can set your business apart and make it unique, benefiting your customer and your staff.

The mode of operation can only be as strong as its people therefore it’s imperative to make sure your personnel are given the opportunity to hone their skills. Katlego also advises SME owners to ensure that staff are given proper incentives like vacation days and proper resources including high quality laptops, coffee and ergonomic office chairs.

Therefore, strengthening the skills of one’s staff is an essential investment to SME business in 2017. Investing in people can be a calculated risk, namely one that offers great rewards in terms of growth, innovation and office culture.

Fiona Tabraham

Fiona Tabraham is a strategic workforce development expert with a career founded on a resolute commitment to inclusivity, talent nurturing, and societal impact. Chief Executive of CAPACITI Digital Career Accelerator, Fiona’s passion for equity has charted pathways across numerous organisations, guiding bespoke Talent Initiatives, Future Leadership Development Programs, and transformative Career Pathway Development. Her tenure at Network Rail bore inclusive talent strategies, STEM advocacy, and innovative Graduate, Apprentice, and Internship initiatives. A trusted partner to a number of governmental, corporate and impact driven entities, Fiona empowers individuals and organisations, fostering diverse recruitment practices and innovative talent strategies. Fiona’s impact transcends the tech sector, positioning her as a leading voice for inclusive digital career initiatives.