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R1.5bn Investment for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are set to benefit from an investment of R1.5 billion, says Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.

“This is the outcome of a collaboration between the Department of Small Business Development, Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa) and the Services SETA. We [recently] launched the Entrepreneurship and Cooperatives Development Institute (ECDI) in Johannesburg in which the three-year R1.5 billion fund will be invested,” Minister Zulu said.

She said the partnership is the culmination of a long process of efforts from various stakeholders in both private and public sector organisations for the past 12 months in an effort to build entrepreneurship and an enterprising nation.

“A programme of action has been mapped out and it comprises… business [advice], monitoring and evaluation, entrepreneurship societies, a micro entrepreneurship programme, business growth programmes, start-up enterprise villages (such as 22 on Sloane) and skills development,” Minister Zulu said.

She was addressing inter-sectoral stakeholders on Friday in Tshwane to solicit views from key stakeholders and address concerns of stakeholders.

She said her department is working on further enforcement measures that will ensure that suppliers are paid within 30 days.

“The payment of suppliers within 30 days remains a challenge. As at September 2017, a total of 71 883 invoices (R4.3 billion) were older than 30 days and not paid,” Minister Zulu said.

She said her department will be working with National Treasury and the Department of Planning Monitoring & Evaluation (DPME) to come up with further enforcement measures to ensure that all government departments pay their invoices within 30 days.

Building solid framework for businesses to prosper

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Zweli Mkhize said government wants to partner with small business to create a framework that will ensure that entrepreneurs succeed in their endeavours.

“Our partnership will focus on a number of things. [We want to look at] the issue of improving the ease of doing business for small business through the reduction of red tape,” Minister Mkhize said.

He urged the small business sector to be specific about the challenges that they face at municipal, provincial and district municipal level.

“We need to embrace the youth. The number of entrepreneurs that come from young people is very high,” Minister Mkhize said.

He said young people need to be supported not only through funding but also sustainable mentorship.

He encouraged young people to start businesses and use policies such as the Integrated Urban Development Framework to create conducive spaces for entrepreneurship to thrive.

He further called on the private sector to invest in small businesses.

The stakeholder engagement was also attended by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Andries Nel and some MECs.

The Department of Small Business is confident that the inter-sectoral stakeholder engagements will help create a conducive environment within which small, medium, micro and cooperative enterprises may thrive.

“These engagements are meant to sharpen our collective response to the challenges confronting small businesses and cooperatives and to influence the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Minister Zulu said. – SAnews.gov.za