Fourth industrial revolution: President Ramaphosa’s jobs, skills and digitaliSAtion imperative boosted by SA’s largest non-profit for SMMEs

Today we announce that South Africa’s largest non-profit organisation supporting SMMEs, COBRA, is integrating with the BUSA-founded SAtion ecosystem. COBRA expects its work with SAtion to result in thousands more jobs saved, and hundreds of businesses boosted to take advantage of the opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution.

SAtion was established by Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) as a shared value and non-profit ecosystem of businesses, government, labour and civil society to lead South Africa through the fourth industrial revolution. Chaired by Bongumusa Makhathini and including Cas Coovadia, CEO of BUSA as a non-executive director, SAtion brings focus to the digitaliSAtion workstream in the President’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan to ensure rapid implementation, outcomes, and impact.

COBRA is an NPO that was set up during March 2020 to ensure small and medium-sized businesses impacted by lockdown were able to receive the support and funding they needed to keep their doors open. The COBRA ecosystem has handled 570 requests from enterprises seeking assistance and has saved thousands of jobs in the process. These enterprises are not only resilient but are poised to enter a new era of growth as businesses expand through digitalisation. Established as a social enterprise and shared value ecosystem, COBRA prides itself on its partnerships with 90 leading companies and fellow social enterprises that possess knowledge and experience in diverse spheres of business governance, strategy, and operations.

COBRA’s assistance includes restructuring, refinancing, accessing unemployment insurance for staff, pivoting core offerings, moving onto digital platforms, business rescue, and corporate turnaround. 70% of businesses assisted were small to medium enterprises (SMMEs) with fewer than 10 employees.  COBRA also provided crisis support to businesses caught up in the insurgency protests of July 2021.

“We know that the SMME sector should be the powerhouse of our economy – and we need to be doing all we can to ensure SMMEs benefit from the efficiencies and opportunities in the digital economy. COBRA’s partners bring big business skills to SMME needs, and we’ve done this with tremendous success during the darkest lockdown days. Now that things are starting to look up, we are determined to help every possible business press go for growth” shared Bob Grewar, COO of COBRA.

“The collective know-how and extensive partner network within the COBRA ecosystem is second to none. Its collaboration of enterprises is united to use business as a force for good by assisting other companies to thrive in a challenging economy, to safeguard livelihoods, and ultimately improve the social wellbeing of all South Africans. Now, as part of SAtion, our quest to bust digital barriers and connect SMMEs and entrepreneurs to the best brains in the country is zooming ahead” said Justine Grimmer, SAtion Programme Lead.

SAtion continues to engage with pivotal local and international stakeholders to accelerate the growth of our digital economy in South Africa. The SAtion team has several exciting developments which are currently underway – and looks forward to communicating on these as soon as they have been finalised.

Issued by Justine Grimmer, SAtion Programme Lead and Bob Grewar, COO of COBRA 


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