Government has reiterated its commitment to making it easier for Small, Micro and Medium-Sized Entities (SMMEs) to do business in the country.
“We are working with our government stakeholders from national, provincial and local government to make it easier to start a business and to do business,” Minister for Small Business Development Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said on Thursday.
Addressing the launch of Dastile Wealth Insure (DWI) call centre in East London, the Minister said government has demonstrated its commitment to the development of small business through the appointment of Sipho Nkosi – who comes with vast experience in the private sector – to lead a team to cut red tape across government.
“The success of small businesses will lead to a significant reduction in unemployment. We are currently in the process of merging Small Enterprise Finance Agency (sefa), Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and the Co-operative Banks Development Agency to form one agency so that our processes are seamless and user-friendly.
“This will act as a one-stop-shop, wherein SMMEs will be assisted with business plans and the funding processes will take place in-house, without the need to take it to other agencies for funding consideration. Municipalities should start to work differently and create a user-friendly environment,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
Last month, the Minister presented the department’s budget speech for the financial year 2022/2023.
“We are confident that there will be an equitable fund flow across provinces. The R2 billion Sefa funding envelope, will see over R200 million disbursed in each province and slightly more for the poorer rural provinces such as Limpopo, the Free State, the North West, the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, and the Northern Cape.
“We are deliberate about redress. The R2 billion is expected to support 84 831 SMMEs and co-operatives creating 104 968 jobs. We have also developed our own funding instruments to respond to the SMME credit gap,” the Minister said.
The department’s flagship programme – the Township and Rural Entrepreneurship Programme (TREP) – is aimed at transforming and integrating opportunities in townships and rural areas into productive business ventures.
“For the financial year 2022/23, the allocation for TREP is R953 325 000, with a target of supporting 24 000 township and rural enterprises across various sub-sectors,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
Newly launched call centre creates jobs
The Minister commended Dastile Wealth Insure for launching the call centre, which currently employs 64 people in East London and has created over 350 across the Eastern Cape.
“We are especially excited that the fundamental aim of creating this company was to maintain job security for the unemployed youth, with a special focus on expanding capabilities of disadvantaged young people, particularly from rural areas and townships in customer care, sales and marketing. A fast growing field in the country and the world at large.
“We are proud to be associated with this initiative and share DWI’s commitment to create up to 500 jobs within the next five years,” the Minister said.
DWI has and brought on board unemployed youth with disabilities and females, to teach them the necessary skills through learnership programmes with Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA).
The Minister said Dastile and his partners had decided to empower others and help them restore their dignity by offering them work, and freeing them from dependence.