‘Doing’ skills are what one learns at a tertiary institution or from sheer experience while working for someone else. ‘Business’ skills are those needed to manage and run the business successfully. These include marketing, selling, costing, buying and compliance with laws, especially tax laws. In a competitive business environment with a shrinking consumer base, today’s entrepreneur has to be a jack-of-all-trades with ‘doing’ skills and business skills. Not only that, he is expected to be the master of both. Obviously, this is rarely the case, so the insightful entrepreneur will recognise the need for all these components and seek to acquire both skill-sets. The entrepreneur, or entrepreneurial team with a viable future, will have all their bases covered. Business Partners has long been aware of the need for the SME owner to be an all-rounder. And while risk financing is our core business, the factor differentiating us from other investors, is that we provide value-add services to ensure continuity. One can’t help someone get his business off the ground and then send him on his way with your best wishes. In the current economic climate, the entrepreneur also cannot afford to learn his lessons through the failure of the business. He must be supported throughout his journey, with the view that his success benefits more than just himself. Business Partners’ value-add products include property management, technical advice, mentorship, consulting and operational support provided through other dedicated divisions. If the entrepreneur has the ‘doing’ skills, but isn’t so strong on the business front, the Business Partners Mentors division can provide the consulting services of high-calibre experts in their respective fields. When a need – such as the implementation of appropriate financial processes – is identified, a mentor with the relevant expertise is appointed to train the entrepreneur to put these systems in place. His business benefits and he comes away with another invaluable business skill. It is, and always has been, our mission to invest in and support entrepreneurs who have a viable business plan, the vision, drive and skill to run a successful business. We are tremendously proud of this ‘bigger picture’ approach and its one we would encourage more financiers to adopt. The time has come for us to give the entrepreneur that break he so sorely needs and then to develop that potential into something that has a knock-on effect on the broader community and the country as a whole.