SA, UN sign agreement to establish business incubators

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pretoria - The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have agreed to cooperate in broadening participation in the promotion of incubation and establishment of business incubators.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in Pretoria on Monday, according to the department.

It said the parties had also agreed to cooperate in women economic empowerment by promoting inclusive financing for women; a supplier development programme focusing on the promotion and cooperatives; special economic zones and economic infrastructure.

The department's Deputy Director General, Sipho Zikode, said the vast experience and knowledge that the UNDP brings in these areas will significantly assist South Africa. He added that South Africa has been in the process of strengthening its Small Medium Micro Enterprise (SMME) sector.

"We have a world class incubation system that still needs to be improved. It delights me knowing that we will be drawing guidance and expertise from the experience of the UNDP's global network of offices and experts to provide support in the areas of cooperation covered in this MOU," he said.

Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, said government was in the throes of implementing various interventions to ensure that small enterprises and big businesses have a symbiotic relationship that will boost the development and growth of the country's SMME sector.

In September this year, Davies launched the Incubation Support Programme. According to the department, the programme aims to develop enterprises that will absorb and upgrade the vast unskilled labour force, develop new technologies and strengthen the country's economy, said the department.

This initiative is intended to encourage private sector partnerships with government to foster collaboration between small and big businesses; whereby big businesses assist SMMEs with skills and technology transfer; supplier development and creating marketing opportunities for SMMEs.

UNDP Resident Representative and United Nations Resident Coordinator, Dr. Agostinho Zacarias thanked the department for its perseverance and persistence in pursuit of the MOU.

"Hopefully sooner rather than later we will begin to reap the rewards of this union. Both the dti and the UNDP would need to upscale existent incubators in the country and we would need also to formulate a comprehensive strategy to guarantee the success of this initiative," he said. -