Hundreds of small businesses in Africa fold up within their first year of operation, according to empirical studies, a situation that has spurned enormous research to unravel the causes, and to proffer appropriate solutions. The major cause, said Ethel Nyembe, Head of Small Enterprise at Standard Bank, is poor forward planning and lack of attention to the financial details that are vital to build a successful enterprise. And to reverse this trend requires considerable empowerment of operators in the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) segment, applying a multi-pronged approach, she stated.

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