Digital services helpdesk supports local SMEs
Forge Academy has introduced a digital helpdesk service to assist small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) that need assistance to scale their business.
This comes as nearly a third of South Africa’s small companies say they see digitisation as a challenge.
In addition, the 2021 Mastercard SME Index indicatedSouth African SMEs believe upskilling staff and growing digitally will help drive business in a post-COVID-19 world.
Forge Academy says the SMME Digital Service Desk aims to assist SMMEs with access to subsidised, scalable digital transformation and compliance services they need to grow.
"We have made this service available to SMMEs across all sectors needing assistance scaling their businesses,” says Arthur Wade Anderson, CEO of Forge Academy.
“The Digital Service Desk removes administration hurdles and reduces the need to acquire digital skills. Businesses need freedom and time to focus on their vision and deeper customer relations. The net effect of matching industry needs to expertise on hand is digital job opportunities for youth.”
Forge Academy, SA’s self-proclaimed ‘Harvard for the fourth industrial revolution’, is the brainchild of social entrepreneurs Anderson and Craig Clutty, who serves as its COO.
It is a fourth industrial revolution (4IR) hub for small businesses and an education training facility to equip students with the skills they need to participate in the digital age.
According to the academy, the Digital Service Desk was created and will be manned by students who completed their 4IR certification this year, supporting its commitment to provide employment opportunities for its graduates.
The helpdesk team sets up virtual meetings with SMMEs to understand their operation and then creates a tailored suite of services best-suited to their business needs.
The services include company compliance, website services, funding applications, digital marketing, public relations, virtual assistance for project management tasks and an IT service desk, it states.
More than 200 small businesses have, so far, subscribed to the helpdesk service.
“SMMEs will benefit from this helpdesk. It affords entrepreneurs sharper focus to run their business, while we assist with activities like compliance and digital marketing. We want to support SMMEs in their journey to success, with the hopes of creating much-needed employment,” states Clutty.
The prerequisites for an SMME to register with the helpdesk follow the National Small Business Act, notes Forge.
Anderson concludes: “Our greatest export is our youth, not gold and not diamonds. What are we doing as adults to position our kids in the global marketplace where they can be successful? We all have something to give, so let's empty our cups into the SMME space and build generational wealth.”