The 2022 BigFive Summit kicked off to a roaring start inside the picturesque Workshop 17 eventing hall, on a partially overcast Thursday in Cape Town.
2022 BigFive Summit: Five standout moments from Day 1
Returning for the first time in three years, the small business meet-up held an optimistic buzz, an atmosphere electrified by start-up entrepreneurs ever-ready to soak in and digest insights on the advancement of technology in Africa’s growing economy.
More importantly, business owners were looking for answers to pain points that curtail growth in an era where digitisation is rapidly increasing, especially on the African continent.
Insert the summit’s panel of thought leaders and experts. The first day started with a market overview of the African SMME technology ecosystem, delivered by BigFive Digital founders, Charles Laughlin and Thabo Seopa.
The introduction paved the way for Fred Imbo, COO at Africa 118, and GeoPoll’s Digital Marketing and Outreach Manager Frankline Kibuacha to provide insight on how businesses in Africa managed to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
A mixture of highly informative and impactful keynote addresses from industry leaders in telecoms, financial services, digital marketing and web development, to list a few, made for a day of unlearning a lot of misconceptions about just how impactful technological implementations in various parts of a startup’s anatomy can be for scaling, whether a business’ goal is to increase sales or mark a value-rich footprint on social media.
Here are five key highlights we took from the first day of the two-day small business workshop.
Bureaucracy still triumphs in employee wage access
One of the first key moments from the summit came when SmartWage CEO Simon Ellis led an insightful conversation about the pain points that still exist between Human Resources and employee access to wages.
Founded by brothers Nick and Alex Patt, as well as Ellis in 2019, SmartWage is on the cusp of revolutionising wage access by giving the power back to the employee.
Competing with the likes of Wonga, SmartWage offers cash advances to employees of already-signed-on clients. Instead of delaying financial problems due to old-fashioned payroll practices, workers can access their hard-earned wages instantly on a digital platform and meet their needs with a practical solution – cash.
You will soon be able to use your Mobicred account in-store
Another interesting development in the financial services industry came when Mobicred CEO Jason Sive dropped a teaser on the credit provider’s next big move.
Everywhere you turn in South Africa’s online retail market, there is a high likelihood of coming across the enticing ‘buy now pay later’ option at checkout.
Not only is Mobicred more accessible to the average income earner now more than ever, but very soon, account holders may be able to register for a physical credit card for use at select retail outlets.
When we should expect this? Sive was cautious to not reveal too much.
In the world of sales, Gil Gunderson died a long time ago
Gil Gunderson, a traditional salesman on The Simpsons who attempted suicide by hanging himself with Christmas lights, was the centre theme of George Leith’s keynote on the next evolution of the sales industry.
Leith, the Chief Customer Officer at Vendasta, an all-in-one platform for companies that provide digital solutions to small businesses, unravelled a refreshed sales model that’s centred around embracing the customer journey and putting an end to the age-old term ‘close’.
For Leith, striking a deal with a client is only the start of a multi-pronged sales process where the objective is not only to sell the product, but to build long-term partnerships nurtured around the need to serve.
Uber Eats’ next big move
UberEats’ Senior Strategy & Planning Lead for Sub-Saharan Africa Thabang Sebata also shared some eye-opening insights into innovations led by the e-hailing business in Africa’s ‘food-tech’ industry.
We all know and love UberEats for the convenience it provides to food-lovers, merchants and couriers, but according to Sebata, plans are in place to take service excellence to the next level with a move towards launching ‘dark stores’, or distribution centres for online shopping, in densely populated regions in a bid to maximise opportunities to deliver food, non-food items and other goods, in as little as 15 minutes.
Small businesses are still battling to balance the books
Xero’s Country Manager for South Africa Colin Timmis capped off the first day of the 2022 BigFive Summit with a sobering deep-dive into taxation issues small businesses experience in dealing with the dauntingly administrative processes used by the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
The future of South Africa’s economy, Timmis asserted, lies in bringing SMMEs to compliant status and a large aspect of this is bringing technology to the taxation process.
Using API integration, Xero is able to connect its seamless and easy-to-use accounting software to banks and firms, making it a lot easier for small businesses to understand their finances and submit what is due to ‘Ceasar’ without hassles.
The 2022 BigFive Summit concludes on Friday with keynotes expected from the likes of Telkom Consumer CEO Lunga Siyo, Bridge Capital Future Advisory’s Gideon Greaves and more.