The unprecedented challenge of a global pandemic has required that SMEs face challenges head-on, armed with the right information and tools to adapt and thrive in the future.

The Standard Bank SME Summit, hosted by business growth expert and CEO of Aurik Pavlo Phitidis, is an online series which aims to provide SME owners with insights into the latest industry intelligence and strategies as well as practical tips on how to transform their businesses to become more resilient and relevant in a post Covid economy.

The first episode of the four-part series focused on finding the right mindset to turn a crisis into an opportunity. The second episode guided small business owners and entrepreneurs on how to spot the gaps in the market and how to make the most of the opportunities created by change. The third episode focused on understanding how to yield positive outcomes with each step of the rebuilding process. The fourth and final episode focused on reigniting the reset, rebuilt business to accelerate growth and race ahead of competitors as well as how to dominate in the market.

Dr Tirhani Mabunda is a professional auctioneer and the founder of Tirhani Aucioneers, the largest black-owned and managed auctioneering company in SA. The business specialises in movable and immovable auctions as well as asset recovery and warehousing, offering both live and online auction services.

The most expensive item he has ever auctioned, revealed Mabunda, was a farm for R80 million. The auction took just three minutes and the buyer paid for the acquisition on the same day.

Brendyn Meyer is the CEO of Swan Electric, an electrical manufacturer and importer of low voltage electrical products.

Bernadette Colborne is the executive head of Trade and Supply Chain Finance, Product Management. Moonshots Trade and Business and Commercial Banking at Standard Bank SA. The pandemic negatively impacted many businesses, including supply chains around the world. Standard Bank responded by providing loans to help businesses and their supply chains navigate through this uncertain period. Before the bank considers a loan approval, it will evaluate the risks that face the business as well as the businesses cash flow cycle and customer base.

Guarav Nair is the co-founder and partner at Jaltech Fund Management, an alternative investment specialist with over R1.6 billion under management and a provider of administration and fiduciary services to alternative funds.

As an equity investor, explained Nair, Jaltech Fund Management takes a more forward-looking approach. However, that’s not to say that equity investors don’t also research the business. In fact, said Nair, they want to see that the business has don’t its research in terms of ensuring that there is a good chance that the equity investment will ultimately grow the business.

What distinguishes South Africans is a mindset that has a built in resilience and a strong survival instinct, pointed out Phitidis. A positive mindset is a key competitive advantage. If an SME is able to grow their business in the challenging South African environment then it has a good chance of succeeding on a global stage, he concluded.

To watch the full series visit