A free online magazine committed to helping entrepreneurs build successful businesses is being launched by Old Mutual Corporate during Global Entrepreneurship Week, 16 to 22 November 2020.
The economic devastation caused by Covid-19 in 2020 has threatened the survival of countless small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). It is within this context that Old Mutual Corporate announces the launch of Nine Yards magazine — a publication that is committed to supporting entrepreneurs in their efforts to build businesses that are resilient, resourceful and successful.
“In South Africa, SMMEs account for over 98% of companies and a new generation of young people is looking to start their own businesses – whether because of emerging opportunities or out of sheer necessity. This means supporting entrepreneurs is absolutely critical for the rebuilding of our economy,” says Gugu-Lisa Zwane-Johnson, Executive Head of Marketing at Old Mutual Corporate and the Editor of Nine Yards.
“As part of Old Mutual’s commitment to providing this much-needed support, we’re making the magazine freely available to give entrepreneurs easy access to real solutions and practical advice geared to South African start-ups.”
Inspired by the idiom ‘the whole nine yards’, the magazine aims to guide entrepreneurs through every step of the process of starting, managing and growing an SMME.
“Starting a business is really a marathon rather than a sprint – and it requires real tenacity and grit. Nine Yards recognises this and will give meaningful assistance and encouragement on an ongoing basis, all the way to the finish line,” says Zwane-Johnson.
The digital magazine is structured according to five distinct stages in the life of a start-up: preparation, first steps, running your operation, getting established and growing your success. Its fresh, accessible content packs serious punch – giving would-be entrepreneurs as well as small business owners the tools and confidence they need to stay ahead.
The Nine Yards launch issue features Sinenhlanhla Ndlela, the 26-year-old owner and founder of vegan ice-cream brand Yococo, who started her business three years ago knowing nothing about how to manufacture or distribute dairy-free frozen desserts. Today, her products are available in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.
In 2020, Covid-19 has inspired – or, in many cases, forced – more people like Ndlela to start a business with little or no entrepreneurial experience. While there is plenty of online content for start-ups produced overseas, Nine Yards is produced specifically for South African entrepreneurs by South African entrepreneurs, offering essential insights into our very unique local business environment – in a precarious economy and during a pandemic.
South African SMMEs faced significant challenges long before Covid-19, and have long tended to operate in survival mode and on the periphery, adds Prabashini Moodley, Managing Director of Old Mutual Corporate.
“Finding effective ways to get our vast numbers of informal businesses to make a move into the formal economy is now urgent. As long as informal SMMEs remain on the sidelines, South Africa will struggle to drive sustainable growth. Through Nine Yards, Old Mutual Corporate aims to help and encourage entrepreneurs to formalise their affairs and take the next steps,” she says.
Moodley encourages all large corporations to step up and do their bit by sourcing goods and services from small local suppliers, as well as giving them access to business skills development programmes as a matter of priority.
“All over the world, we see that small businesses drive innovation and competition. Their size makes them hungry and allows them to try new things. By exploring new ways to support and grow SMMEs, together we can stimulate and move our economy forward,” she concludes.