It was an indaba on small business that was opened by big business. And it raised all sorts of questions about the failure of South Africa's economic policy environment to nurture small and medium enterprises and what to do about it.Eskom and Telkom chairman Jabu Mabuza gave the keynote address at a Small Business Initiative indaba this week, wearing his hat as president of Business Leadership South Africa and the CEO Initiative. He reminisced about his early years as a taxi operator in the 1980s. He talked about the need for the SME sector to be mainstreamed, pointing out that despite the public claims, it hadn't received the requisite attention. He called for a "reset" of the relationship between big and small business - starting with a commitment by large businesses to pay smaller creditors within one month.The SBI, the old Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut, has been revived over the past couple of years under the leadership of former Harmony Gold CEO Bernard Swanepoel and repositio...

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