‘After completing a BSC and MSc in Chemical Engineering cum laude I launched an engineering consulting company, Engenium. As it grew, my role changed from being a consulting engineer to managing the company, which required expertise other than engineering principles. I felt that an MBA would assist in developing my business and leadership skills.’
Mr Yaseer Haroon Tar Ally, who received his Master of Business Administration cum laude, explored the challenges that confront SMMEs in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, and the factors that limit their growth, as well as those that promote competitiveness and sustainability.
The findings show that the most prominent challenges experienced by these firms are government regulation, access to finance, crime and corruption, infrastructure and access to markets. The most persistent growth bottlenecks are access to markets, access to finance and government regulation.
Ally suggests that the solutions lie in SMME managers and owners’ furthering their education in order to improve their leadership and interpersonal skills, engaging in business networking, and jointly employing security services to combat crime and reduce crime-related expenses.
While the government has launched numerous initiatives to assist SMMEs, the study suggests that more can be done. This could take the form of mentorship programmes, facilitating access to finance using incentives and simplifying regulation requirements by making regulatory processes available online.
Ally said that the study has enhanced his personal growth as an entrepreneur and hopes it will also assist other SMMEs.
‘The demands of the programme were huge, but the experience was unparalleled. The all-encompassing MBA degree familiarises students with the necessary business principles and exposes them to real-life experiences. The knowledge that I gained, the inspiring people that I engaged with and the situations I was exposed to were all part of this perfect experience,’ he said. His future plans include growing his businesses and studying further.
Words: Lungile Ngubelanga
Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan