“Let’s ensure this is not another talk shop,” says one entrepreneur to another minutes ahead of the opening of the first Entrepreneurs in Public Policy (EPP) program. On 24 August 2013, the first session of EPP addressing the important matter of the ”Cost of doing Business” was held in Cape Town, South Africa.
Committed to engaging entrepreneurs in crucial public policy matters, the Global Shapers program of the Cape Town Hub kicked off with an assessment of the laws of affecting small businesses.
“The idea is to ensure that we don’t simply workshop theoretical solutions – we look at the gaps in public policy and engage professionals so they can be reformed,” says Global Shaper Elvis Sekhaolelo, who chaired the inaugural event. “Our engagement as business is crucial to drive the changes identified by policy professionals.”
City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee member and Global Shaper, Garreth Bloor was on hand to field queries and take notes, with Michael Howe-Ely presenting on the Costs of doing Business and Phindile Tshabangu facilitating the session on proposals for policy reform.
“In all of this we need to look at how can small business focus in particular on issues affecting them? Several conventions and portfolio committee meetings at the government level are convened to deal with these matters. Entrepreneurs must contribute to policy debates affecting their enterprises,” says Bloor. “The job creators know what is needed for job creation and all levels of government must come forward to create the enabling environment”.
The speakers highlighted how the Small Business Project’s “Reducing the Cost of Doing Business in South Africa” report had found that, on average, it costs formal-sector companies in South Africa about R105 000 per year to comply with regulations. The breakdown of costs looked at where reforms where most urgently needed as well as at the “low –hanging fruit”.
The policy areas highlighted led to a call for further focus on particular issues identified in the reports on the overall cost of doing business. This is just the beginning of a journey where entrepreneurs put their head together and come up with solution to create conducive environments to run businesses in South Africa.
Written by Elvis Sekhaolelo.