IN most, if not all my media interviews, stakeholder engagements, public relations work and advocacy for black business development, one point put against us entrepreneurs (especially in construction) has always been the lack of quality services and chance-taking.
Numerous well-known examples are cited about the poor standard of RDP houses that many black contractors built, and many have not lasted and have had to be rectified which costs the state a fortune. That budget could have been used to build other houses for those who still lack decent human settlements or be re-directed into other avenues like education, healthcare and many more.
I have never denied that such a problem exists and I do not seek to do so even now. I believe if we are really looking for solutions to economic distribution and inequality matters, we all ought to be honest.
I do believe there are many factors that lead to this situation, but the most central problem is tenderpreneurship. Tenderpreneurs are not business people, but are parasites who merely seek chances of making a quick buck.
They just fill in a tender document, pay whoever needs to be bribed and get the tender. When these people get that particular work, they do not have an idea of what needs to be done and cut as much on costs as they can to maximise profits while compromising quality and efficiency.
This problem of tenderpreneurship has many negative manifestations like corruption, exploitation of cheap labour and, most importantly, they give a stigma and bad name to us as genuine entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs are people who enter business with a vision. They get into business not with the profit in mind, but with the goal of establishing a viable and sustainable brand and company.
Entrepreneurs never compromise quality for money, and build good business skills and cash flow management skills. They are not those who want to be materialistic, and buy flashy cars and houses before even finishing the project.
Now when people hear us talking about black business, they can’t even differentiate between us the entrepreneurs and these tenderpreneurs. I will never support tenderpreneurship and I ask that those who practice this evil practice must be identified, alienated and barred from doing business with our government and wasting taxpayers’ money.
Government and business development agencies should assist those genuine entrepreneurs who are serious and just need to get the necessary skills to establish formidable businesses. Away with tenderpreneurship, it’s killing our country and crippling our hard-won democracy.