Small, medium and micro-sized enterprises could well prove to be South Africa’s economic game changer and major job creator in future.
They have been feted as the country’s future economic bedrock and represent roughly 40% of all business - with the government’s National Development Plan estimating that by 2030, 90% of all new jobs will be in this sector.
According to Vera Nagtegaal, the Executive Head of Hippo.co.za, it is still a struggle for most self-made entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground.
“This is evident by the fact that South Africa ranked 82nd out of 190 economies in the 2017 World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report,” she explains.
Against this backdrop and renewed calls from business and the State to do more to help accelerate economic growth and create jobs, Hippo.co.za has shown faith in three South African tech start-ups, all of which are plugged into and geared toward a consumer-centric approach.
Nagtegaal says that the brand’s partnerships with Hey Carter, FOMO Travel and Hepstar means that the virtual car showroom, travel insurance, and lay-by holidays providers respectively have all become a more personal and seamless experience.
“These businesses are all about making people’s life choices simpler,” she adds.
On its online platform, Hey Carter plays car matchmaker, hooks consumers up with the car of their dreams at the appropriate dealerships. It is a one-stop shop which helps first-time buyers to seasoned car hunters narrow the search and find the best deals.
Hey Carter is not affiliated to any dealerships nor to any car manufacturers, which means that they are geared toward making sure the platform consistently reflects a wide-range of cars.
Nagtegaal says giving the customer various value-added options underpin the business ethos of these start-ups.
FOMO Travel, the brainchild of a Cape Town entrepreneur, has given the old-fashioned technique of lay-by a 21st Century digital make-over by letting people choose the package that suits their pocket over a specific time.
If you’re planning a dream honeymoon in Mauritius or a skiing trip to France, FOMO lets you also crowdsource the funding by allowing friends and families to contribute toward the costs.
The upshot of this method of paying for your travel is that it cuts down the debt factor significantly and is safe.
“Further value to these start-ups is ease of the online experience,” Nagtegaal points out.
Hepstar is an e-merchandising platform that allows travellers to buy travel insurance directly from its website, cutting down on the time it takes to get insurance the conventional way.
Hepstar has partnered with global players in insurance, meaning it can offer products to meet most travellers’ needs.
Nagtegaal says Hippo.co.za’s future success lies in its ability to recognise and acknowledge start-up businesses like Hey Carter, FOMO Travel and Hepstar. “We are at the cutting edge of what’s new.”
“Our continued partnership is important for their growth, and these kinds of relationships are perhaps more vital in the overall business landscape in South Africa,” Nagtegaal concludes.