Botswana’s SMEs Look To Data-driven Tools To Drive Growth

Botswana’s small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly looking to grow their businesses both locally and internationally and access new markets to mitigate the effects of an global economic slowdown, rising inflation and to ensure sustainable and inclusive economic growth, says TransUnion Botswana Country Manager, Kabelo Ramaselwana.

According to the African Development Bank Group, real GDP growth is projected to recover to 5.5% in 2022, based on a revival in domestic demand as the effects of the pandemic recede and a rebound in commodity prices as economies reopen globally. However, this could be impacted by growing inflationary pressures caused by the war in the Ukraine. There are also threats from persistent drought and the adverse effects of poor economic conditions in South Africa on Botswana’s exports and SACU receipts.

SMEs remain the cornerstone of Botswana’s economy. They account for 50% of private sector employment, and 15- 20% of Botswana’s GDP. However, one of their main economic constraints is a shortage of entrepreneurs capable of running larger firms, and approximately 80% of small enterprises in Botswana cease trading within five years, according to Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis.

That’s why it’s vital that local SMEs are able to access data-based tools to enable a shift to ecommerce and global markets to accelerate revenues, reduce costs, and manage their risks, explains 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 Botswana’s SMEs increasingly turning to data-driven business intelligence tools to grow their businesses, access new markets and develop their pipelines,” says 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 Hoovers and 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 Botswana’s 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.

They also have the added benefit of helping businesses organise their own data, and combining 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 Botswana's 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 Botswana’s 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 Ramaselwana.

SMEs can sign up for a free webinar, How News Can Boost B2B Sales’ on July 21 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.