Jannie Mouton, one of the country’s most accomplished entrepreneurs, has challenged aspiring black entrepreneurs to focus on establishing their own enterprises instead of complaining about lack of capital to buy equity in existing businesses.
During several conferences organised by organisations whose objective is to promote the growth of black owned businesses the issue of ‘being systematically denied access to capital’ has been raised constantly.
Reacting to this in an interview with The Sunday Times, the founder of the PSG Group said: “This kind of attitude worries me. Through black economic empowerment a lot of wealth has been given to the previously disadvantaged. They must utilise that to build businesses. There are examples of people who have done this and they’ve done well, but they’re exceptions, they’re in the minority.”
On the importance of patience, Mouton said it was important that would be black entrepreneurs learnt about the art of starting a small businesses and building it slowly. “An entrepreneur can start small, learn about money, learn that you borrow something and pay it back. And as the business grows, you can borrow some more. and later on you can do a listing if you like, because you can draw money from shareholders. Nothing can stop you. It is open to all.”
Additionally, he disputed the thinking that white entrepreneurs could easily access capital during the days of apartheid than blacks can 20 years into the country’s democracy.
There were few cases of white people who benefited during apartheid, just like there are few politically connected blacks were benefiting, Mouton observed.
“There are numerous blacks who have benefited from government deals, tenderprenuers. There may have been people like that in the old South Africa, and apparently there were, just as there are deals for friends now.”