Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) play a vital role in the growth of the economy of our country. The SMME sector employs 47% of South Africa’s workforce and contributes more than 20% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and pays about 6% of corporate taxes. The South African recovery plan post Covid-19 disruptions, and the National Development Plan, punts SMMEs as the green shoots that should help in dealing with the rising unemployment rate and poverty.
Leaders in specialized heavy-duty printing, Lebone Litho Printers (Lebone), has taken the lead in uplifting SMMEs and proven that Ubuntu is indeed what we need for South Africa to move forward. Lebone has given small businesses in the transport sector an opportunity to be part of the project of delivering the 60 million workbooks to thousands of schools nationwide. The transport business owners receive training and financial support to enable them to fulfil their allocated delivery slots.
“Lebone recognizes the important role that SMMEs play in our economy and for all our projects to be successfully delivered. So, we take special care of all the SMMEs in our value chain of success. We also believe in Ubuntu which dictates to us that we need to lift each other up, so we invest time, business skills and financial resources to ensure that our local transporters earn an income and become sustainable,” says Keith Michael, CEO of Lebone
Michael appreciates that assisting SMMEs to be sustainable has positive impact on Lebone achieving and maintaining its 99% first-time delivery rate on its school workbook project.
“There is a large database of community transporters that are brought in to do the last mile delivery, the majority of whom are a 1 bakkie brigade or a 5-toner small trucker servicing the local community. They do great work and earn much needed income,” he adds.
According to the 2011 research by Aderniran and Johnston, SMMEs failure rate of is between 70% and 80% and this has high economic and human costs. “We encourage large businesses to assist small ones in their communities and create opportunities to help them to continue to provide a livelihood for their workers and to grow. COVID and Lockdown showed us just how vulnerable small businesses are,” says Michael
Lebone has also recently been encouraging empowered SMMEs aligned to its service offering to register on its database. There are several opportunities available for SMMEs such as companies that can handle the distribution of learner teacher support materials (LTSM), warehousing, pick, and packing. Lebone Media digital solutions are looking for digital competencies such as developers, App developers, and service providers to do Robotics, Analytics, and E-books. Another Lebone associated company, Azalea Holdings needs project managers and distributors.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy; they have the power to change dynamics of our country. By assisting small players, we hope that they can grow and be able to employ more people. When SMMEs grow, unemployment, poverty and crime reduce, that way our country moves toward a positive future,” concludes Michael.