The Struggle for Small Business

Can I cry this cry even louder – as blacks we are suffering partly because of our lack of the simple notion of working together, we expect to rise without lifting others who need a hand. We complain about the big corporate as if they must take us out of our misery, but in actual fact it’s on us to elevate ourselves to greater heights, we must challenge them on their position to isolate small black business. It is on black people to refuse to be undermined, we must hold big corporate accountable for their non-inclusiveness of small black business. In fact we must force them to work with us. The time to complain amongst ourselves has long passed, now is the time we rise. Steve Biko once said; “The blacks are tired of standing at the touchline to witness a game that they should be playing”. This statement is sending a very strong message to those black businesses that have built capacity and are participating in the mainstream economy, it’s now time for you to bring in your brothers and sisters, in order to build a force to be reckoned with, a force that will take big corporates head on. The time to talk is over, we are not negotiating our inclusion we are demanding it.

There are other pressing issues affecting black people (like poverty and unemployment just to mention a few) which, to some degree, are as a result of the struggling small black businesses and we are going on as if it does not bother us, but deep inside we are bleeding. We want to be given a fair chance to offer our services with the skills we possess. We build our businesses with the intention and hope of sustaining them over generations, but the truth is; if you do not get any business over a prolonged period, you become stagnant, your business then fails to progress. It’s possible to strive for success but it is much harder without any support.

I despise how the lack of financial discipline is used to describe why black businesses fail, this is a means of tainting our reputation and undermining our hustle. It makes us digress from the matter at hand; why are there clear barriers for small black business to enter the big markets. The big bros will start telling you about reputation and relationships based on trust that they have built over years, this is how they substantiate why they have contracted a single company for decades, in my view this is unfair competition (actually no competition at all).

Fortunately there are business men and women who do not see tenders as the only possible way to do business for black folk. People have skills to offer to key sectors but there are barriers created for them not to enter the market, it has to be a fight to be accepted as black business. We agree that it is hard to be an entrepreneur but it is even harder as a black one.

It’s on us to start working together, to give work to ethical black businesses offering key skills. We need to support small emerging businesses from our townships, by buying from them, or by offering them the use of some our facilities that they do not possess. We need to expose small black businesses to our networks to help them build their own. We must transfer our business administration skills to them so that they can manage themselves better on an ongoing basis, in order to sustain themselves better.

Writer: Kabelo Motsugi            Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash