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David White – Creating a thriving global SME business community

DRG and BusinessFit have been invited to join the Commonwealth Entrepreneurs Club and Global Economic Forum.

Developing a healthy, active, and progressing nation is the responsibility of every person within every country. There are of course certain people who are able to influence change and opportunity in nations, and the world at large, more effectively than others. One of these mighty men is the chairman and founder of the Commonwealth Entrepreneurs Club (CEC) and Global Economic Forum (GEF) Mr Mobin Rafiq.

Mobin is passionate about global poverty alleviation. Through his multi-dimensional approach as a technocrat, industrialist and philanthropist he has been able to achieve significant momentum across the entire Commonwealth to develop and enable small and medium size enterprise (SME) entrepreneurs and business leaders to grow their organisations. This he does by instilling skills such as business development, effective networking, and opening of corridors to international trade opportunities. It is of course SMEs that are the backbone of any developing economy, and through Mobin’s passion, experiences, and networks he has been able to create the desperately needed momentum to help realise his vision of a thriving global SME business community.

Mobin’s networks and influence in driving SME development is unparalleled in the world today. Mobin has been able to attract support and encouragement for his work from royal dynasties, parliamentarians, diplomats, bankers, industrialists, military generals, academics, and several thousand SMEs across 56 Commonwealth countries.

SME Capacitation

CEC and GEF are vanguard organisations in SME capacitation, leading the way in new developments and ideas to promote opportunity for SMEs within national and international markets. They help to build strong business relationships that encourage and support public-private partnerships. Such initiatives are helping to ensure that SMEs are given adequate support and opportunity to grow and contribute ideas and innovation to the global economy. This enables the creation of employment opportunities across all business sectors and organisation sizes, thus positively effecting poverty alleviation. Mobin recognises that developing individual and community hope and pride is an important outcome focus. It builds confidence and encourages contributions from industry influencers to propel forward SME development and inclusion across the entire world.

CEC’s mission is to link SMEs with global distributors to recognise and encourage innovation, to provide access to capital and to grow SME opportunities in diverse sectors such as finance, trade, infrastructure, conservation, energy, steel, development of industrial parks, real estate, smart cities, agriculture, logistics, technology, health care, tourism, communication, fashion design, education, and skills development. CEC has not left a single stone unturned in its drive to rescue and advance vulnerable SME sectors across the entire Commonwealth.

Mobilising Forward

Mobin’s vision extends to the concept of mobilising forward, which in simple terms helps organisations upsize to new heights and opportunities. Mobilising forward through skills development, mentoring, and the support of active business ecosystems helps, for example, informal sector traders migrate their organisations into the mainstream economy where they are able to gain greater opportunity and protection. Mobilising forward encourages organisations to improve internal efficiencies and operational effectiveness, and as such grow micro businesses into small businesses, small businesses into medium businesses, and medium businesses into larger organisations. Mobin sees clearly that this vision is achievable, but realises too that other industry influencers, and entrepreneurs and business leaders themselves need to take advantage of this developmental platform and the collaboration momentum CEC and GEF have created within the SME sector.

I was fortunate to be introduced to Mobin and CEC and CEF through Professor Tony Granger, a past Rhodes University business author and lecturer, and member of the SA Chamber UK Exco. Mobin’s passions and purpose are identically aligned with the work the SA Chamber United Kingdom and Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry are doing to expand horizons and opportunity for SMEs to develop trade linkages between South Africa and the United Kingdom. Such relationships and way-forward considerations are directly aligned, and uniquely synergistic. Through our work in BusinessFit SA and BusinessFit International, we have since our inception in 2012 recognised that one of the most practical ways to create sustainable employment is through the growth of SME sectors. Mobin has attracted many chambers and governments to participate in supporting this initiative, and as such energy and excitement is being driven from all corners of the Commonwealth, with a common focus on lifting and enhancing trade and value creation among Commonwealth countries.

A Scientific Approach

BusinessFit, over the past decade, has focused on developing a scientific approach to support entrepreneurs and business leaders “Building Better Businesses”, that meet governance, ethical and quality assurance standards, operational hurdle rates and stakeholder expectations, and as such to a degree normalising the concept of creating successful and sustainable businesses. World over, eight out of ten businesses fail in their first two years of operation, causing a huge waste in effort, resources, and invested capital. The BusinessFit approach guides entrepreneurs and business leaders through a five-stage quality assurance process. This results in clearly defined corrective actions to eliminate errors and blockages, and the creation of a Sustainability Report, where aspects such as leadership, functional area foundations, metrics, and employee engagement are linked together. This creates a common language for the organisation, which supports the focus of meeting organisational and stakeholder measures and aligns organisational activities with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards such as environmental impact, contribution to society, and adherence to governance standards and best practice considerations. The Sustainability Report is comprehensive in that it also considers where an organisation, and individuals in the organisation, can add value and help the world to meet and exceed principles and actions as detailed in the United Nations seventeen Sustainable Development Goals.

Mobin has been particularly excited about the DRG and BusinessFit intention and model to support development of more businesses being more successful more often, and he explained that this model will help to bring confidence to entrepreneurs and business leaders running their organisations, as well as investors who will now more easily be able to gauge the quality and effectiveness of the organisations they choose to support and allocate capital and resources.

Build SME Sectors

CEC is about momentum, and encourages individuals, organisations, and governments with the same outcome intention to contribute ideas and structural platforms to help build SME sectors across the Commonwealth into thriving business communities. Mobin highlights further that national and international government and business influencers have an important role to play in supporting the development of SME sectors, and to continue encouraging the momentum needed to escalate and enhance SME growth and opportunity. South African transformation alignment programmes encourage that larger organisations procure at least thirty percent of their goods and services from SMEs and encourage that organisations contribute three percent of their Net profit after tax (NPAT) to supplier and enterprise development. Further, considerable points are generated on the black economic empowerment scorecard when organisations invest in training and development for their staff members. South Africa therefore is in some areas ahead of many Commonwealth countries in encouraging progressive economic engagement norms to help drive opportunity for the creation of a healthy and vibrant SME business community. South Africa has a lot of experience to share with the world in regard to SME development, and it is not unexpected that Lord Peter Hain, past South African transformation campaigner, is the organisation’s global president in trade and business.

By 2030 Mobin sees CEC and GEF contributions in the SME sector showing an upliftment of global environmental, social, and economic values, as well as advancements in the fields of science, business and technology, resulting in increased cooperation and solidarity between governments and business communities within Commonwealth countries. Mobin’s team consists of significant influencers such as Ian Liddel-Grainger MP, who is chairman parliamentarian association, and vice chairman of UK Commonwealth and CEC. Included as well are Lord JD Waverley, president SME Trade and Business; Lord Sheikh, president CEC; Lord Rami Ranger CBE, president CEC; Lord Taylor, president media and creative industries; Lord Aamer Sarfraz, president venture capital; Nizam Prince Raunaq Yar Khan, patron; and Azim Premji, global president.

Through DRG and BusinessFit’s valuable contributions in the fast-developing SME sector, David White was appointed a CEC Global Ambassador, with the responsibility to encourage engagement and support from South Africa and African business influencers and SME entrepreneurs and business leaders.

We encourage everyone who would like to join this noble collaboration, to please visit the organisation website www.thece.club or contact Lindiwe Bhadi at the DRG office on lindiwe@drg.co.za

By Zambezzi

As an influencer my team and I create content or co-create content to support brands, endorse product and services with the intent to increase brand awareness and drive sales.

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