Local SMEs look to data-driven tools to drive growth
Local small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly looking to grow their businesses internationally and access new markets to mitigate the effects of a global economic slowdown and ensure sustainable and inclusive economic growth, TransUnion Namibia Country Manager, Lara Burger said this week.
According to the African Development Bank Group, the economy is projected to grow by 3.3% in 2022, on the back of a steady recovery in financial services, tourism, retail and wholesale trade, and the mining industries—combined with an improvement in the regional and global economic environment. But the economy still faces substantial risks and challenges in the short to medium term. For instance, if the pandemic continues, the revival of critical sectors such as tourism, agriculture, and retail and wholesale trade would be slower than anticipated.
According to the Labour Resource and Research Institute of Namibia (LaRRI), the SME sector has become a booming area of the Namibian economy. They provide an estimated 60 000 full-time jobs, which makes it a very significant sector in terms of employment creation. Its potential for employment creation seems even larger than that of Namibia’s large business sector due to its labour-intensive nature and its use of local resources.
However, according to IGI Global, the general reduction in the supply of labour, disruptions of supply chains, sudden loss of demand, and revenue by the COVID-19 pandemic have negatively affected SMEs leading to their inability to operate normally causing liquidity constraints.
Data-based tools are proving to be a key driver of the growing trend of SMEs expanding beyond Namibia’s borders into the region and globally, said Rafi Kotler, Head of Commercial Bureau Solutions at TransUnion Africa.
“Big data and analytics used to be seen as something only large enterprises could afford, or use. That’s changing rapidly, with Namibia’s SMEs increasingly turning to data-driven business intelligence tools to grow their businesses, access new markets, and develop their pipelines,” said Kotler.
“They’re looking to quality data and enhanced analytics to gain a complete view of customers, suppliers, partners, and prospects, and make informed decisions. That’s where analytical techniques are critical for deciding which market to target, where to find customers within those markets and how to manage the risks of transacting with business customers at arm’s length.”
Local SMEs’ ability to access data on global markets was boosted last year by a partnership between TransUnion Africa and global commercial data company Dun & Bradstreet, which gives SMEs access to two key Dun & Bradstreet services, D&B Hovers & DataVision. Hoovers is a web-based lead prospecting tool that allows companies to build local and global pipelines, and DataVision helps companies assess markets and develop entry strategies through powerful data analytics.
Effectively, this makes Namibian businesses visible on the global stage and gives them access to international trade opportunities.
“For companies that want to jump-start their businesses, or accelerate their growth into global export markets or the e-commerce space, these platforms provide an intuitive experience to decide which markets they should enter and which customers they should reach out to in those markets,” said Kotler.
This helps businesses organise their data, and combines it with 400 million international D&B sourced records. This allows companies to get on with running their businesses, and competing in global markets, rather than spending their time cleaning up spreadsheets.
The partnership with Dun & Bradstreet builds on TransUnion’s existing range of fraud and risk solutions, which help Namibian businesses form trusted relationships and make more informed decisions. This includes products that address fraud, identity and risk management, automated decisioning, and marketing across a range of sectors, including banking, retail, insurance, automotive, and telecommunications.
“This won’t just help Namibian businesses rebound from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, but will open up entirely new growth avenues. And ultimately, that will be good for the country, and the continent’s economy,” said Burger.
SMEs can sign up for a free webinar, ‘How News Can Boost B2B Sales’ on 21 July from 10:00 to 11:00; and a free Masterclass, ‘Expand your Exports’, on July 28 from 10:00 to 11:00. Both events are part of the TransUnion D&B Hoovers Webinar & Masterclass Series.