BNC#6: GG Alcock – ‘Kasinomics’ 101, the multi-bn Rand sector that no one talks about

In his keynote address at BNC#6 in Hermanus, ‘Kasinomics’ expert GG Alcock delved into the informal sector economy, highlighting the resilience and potential of ‘Kasipreneurs’. Drawing from personal experiences and case studies, he showcased the success stories of individuals that he has worked with, emphasising their ability to thrive despite challenges like load shedding and limited resources. Alcock highlighted the importance of recognising and supporting these informal businesses, which play a significant role in driving economic growth and creating opportunities in communities. Through initiatives like WhatsApp loyalty programs and rural farming programs, he advocates for a shift in focus towards empowering existing informal businesses rather than solely promoting startups.

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Edited transcript of GG Alcock’s keynote address at the BizNews conference BNC#6 in Hermanus ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

00:07 Hi everyone, thank you. I’m going to talk about ‘Kasinomics’ and the hope and resilience of ‘Kasipreneurs’.

00:32 I’m a passion-fueled optimist. I started in a Zulu village mud hut, moved to the city, became a bricklayer, and then ventured into marketing, making a small fortune the old-fashioned way. I’m not a researcher or author, but I’ve run businesses in townships. The future relies on informal sector entrepreneurs, ‘Kasipreneurs’.

01:27 I see myself as an economic activist. Most of us should consider this. Nomgqibelo’s treats in Soweto exemplify this, making significant monthly profits despite challenges like load shedding.

03:41 Nomgqibelo is one of about 10,000 township bakers earning a minimum of 10 to 15,000 Rand monthly. I work with Supreme Flour, and they’re part of a WhatsApp loyalty program, benefiting from rewards like generators to offset load shedding.

04:37 We have a guy in Inanda in KZN who exemplifies another aspect, building back rooms and renting them out for 3000 Rand each. Ntabiseng in Soweto earns 148,000 Rand monthly from back room rentals.

05:59 This sector thrives due to a societal shift towards smaller households, driving demand for back room rentals.

06:48 Mbali sells chicken dust, part of a 200 billion Rand sector with 50,000 outlets in townships. Load shedding boosts sales in fast food outlets, a significant part of this sector.

08:12 Zoezie’s Weigh and Pay focuses on “Mampara Week”, offering small quantities of essentials. The spaza sector, worth 187 billion Rand annually, is growing faster than formal retail.

10:36 Spazas compete effectively with formal retailers, offering convenience to consumers.

11:12 Lisa’s hair salon is part of a 10 billion Rand sector across 60,000 outlets. Hair extensions are a highly sought-after commodity, overtaking coal in theft incidents at ports.

12:37 The informal economy mirrors the formal one in many aspects, operating differently but powering sectors like mechanics and herbal medicine.

15:40 We need to rethink how businesses, government, and individuals can contribute to supporting these entrepreneurs.

16:38 Miriam Tsimane’s success story in the Baragwanath Taxi Rank illustrates the potential of small businesses. Rural programs like goat farming uplift communities significantly.

20:14 Despite challenges, programs like the goat farming initiative generate substantial income for rural communities.

21:42 We often overlook the significance of informal businesses, despite their immense contribution to the economy.

22:36 We need to focus on helping existing informal businesses thrive, rather than just promoting startups.

23:01 The informal sector is home to resilient entrepreneurs who are shaping the future. Thank you.

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*The above transcript has been condensed and paraphrased for brevity and clarity, and may not capture the full context or nuances of the original speech delivered by GG Alcock at the Biznews conference, BNC#6.