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Africa and the world, needs more business owners – especially those who start-up, establish and grow SMEs. Research has proven that entrepreneurial SMEs are very effective at stimulating economic growth, generating wealth and creating jobs – all of which are required for us to successfully combat unemployment and poverty which afflicts much of the world.

To encourage more people to pursue entrepreneurship as a noble career, we must honour and celebrate entrepreneurs as role models – the true heroes of economic society who, often against all odds, generate wealth for themselves and their families and create jobs for many – and we must champion their cause. This is what we strive to do at BUSINESS/PARTNERS in South Africa and other selected African countries where we operate, namely Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda and Uganda.


Our story started in 1979 at a business conference in downtown Johannesburg. The late Dr Anton Rupert – egged on by his son, Johann – proposed the idea for a joint venture between the public and private sectors to finance and support SMEs.

In 1981 the Small Business Development Corporation Ltd (SBDC) was established, with both the public and private sectors having equal shareholding. The main role of the SBDC was to provide investment capital and business support to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). These beneficiary businesses could be a start-up, in the process of expansion, or one without access to capital markets. In short, the SBDC backed potential.

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In striving to make entrepreneurship the most aspirational human endeavour of all, we have identified the Entrepreneurs Credo as being at the centre of our DNA.

Our Entrepreneurs Credo is taken from Thomas Paine’s ‘The Common Man’, written in 1776. It is an ageless piece of writing that speaks to the life choices and beliefs of an entrepreneur. This is a passage that speaks to who we are and who we aspire to be. The words articulate what runs in our blood, what inspires us to do what we do. An inspiring sentiment, we wish that every entrepreneur would read these words on a daily basis.

Entrepreneurs Credo


I do not choose to be a common (wo)man.
It is my right to be uncommon … if I can.
I seek opportunity … not security.
I want to take the calculated risk;
To dream and to build. To fail and to succeed.
I will never cower before any master,
Nor bend to any threat.
It is my heritage to stand Proud and unafraid;
To think and act for myself,
To enjoy the benefit of my creations
And to face the world boldly and say:
This, I have done.
I am an entrepreneur.

Thomas Paine, 1776