Competition between companies results in better goods and services for consumers. They constantly strive to produce better products than their competitors, in order to attract more customers and earn a bigger profit. This results in better products for the general public and greater consumer choice.
The opposite of healthy competition is a monopoly, in which only one service provider is allowed to provide a service. Since there is no competition, there is no incentive to innovate and the resulting services are often poor. Sadly, many government services lack private sector competition, and the result is lacklustre services for the public.
One ambitious entrepreneur who sought to change that situation was Sizwe Nzima. Sizwe is one of the Top 30 African entrepreneurs under 30. It is an accolade from no less than Forbes magazine for an entrepreneur well-known from taking a public healthcare challenge – and turning it into an opportunity to serve the people of Khayelitsha through business.
Sizwe adopted the approach of lightening the load on the public healthcare system through a market-based alternative with an entrepreneurial solution.
His Iyeza Express distributes chronic medication to patients who would otherwise have to wait in line for up to three hours, as well as needing to miss work. After seeing this situation, Sizwe decided he wanted to be part of the solution, not simply accepting the situation as it was.
Sizwe is one of many entrepreneurs who are changing perceptions of what the role of business can be, and the benefits businesses can provide to their communities. By operating alongside government institutions they can provide healthy competition and increase the choices available to the consumer.
Entrepreneurs in Public Policy recommendations to increase consumer choice:
- Enable consumer choice for the poor through enabling entrepreneurs to start new companies in areas where government is seen as the main service provider (regulatory reform).
- Guarantee consumers the option of greater choice. Those reliant on government deserve the same choices as private healthcare users through a competitive economy driven by entrepreneurs.
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