Small businesses are the heartbeat of SA's economy

Pretoria - The Department of Small Business Development’s vision is to see a radically transformed economy through effective development and increased participation of SMMEs and cooperatives in the mainstream economy.

“Small businesses are the heartbeat of our economy and engine for economic growth and job creation. If we want to turn around our economic fortunes, we need to redirect our collective energies towards building and growing a small business sector,” said Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu on Friday.

She said it was exciting and encouraging to see that there is a universal appreciation that at the heart of any economic plan must be recognition of the role of small businesses and cooperatives.

“There is acknowledgement across the globe that small business and entrepreneurship development is a vehicle for stimulating economic growth.

“We have examined countries that have excelled in propelling economic growth and concluded that these countries have achieved higher growth rates, created wealth and higher earnings per capita through a mind-set of lifting one another up,” said Minister Zulu.

The Minister said President Jacob Zuma had instructed her to lead a process of unlocking the potential of SMMEs, cooperatives, township and rural enterprises which seeks to ignite growth and create jobs.

In fulfilling this mandate, the department will seek to promote a co-ordinated and integrated support across government spheres and institutions for SMMEs.

“In order to unlock the potential of SMMEs and co-operatives, we are focusing on five critical areas that will drive the development and sustainability of the small business sector, namely, public sector procurement, building market access into private sector value chains, simplifying the policy and regulatory environment, access to finance, and support to township and rural economies.

“Government is keen to ensure co-ordinated support to small businesses and co-operatives because each government department or agency across all three spheres has something to offer to small businesses and co-operatives.”

The Minster was addressing the First Villages, Townships and Small Dorpies Economic Lekgotla at the Mmabatho Convention Centre.

She was confident the people of the North West and of South Africa will be inspired by the practical and innovative ideas that will emerge from the Lekgotla, which she said was a clarion call to action and a bold assertion about the critical importance of small businesses and co-operatives in economic transformation, job creation and economic inclusion. –