New equipment opens doors of opportunity

Friday, August 31, 2018

A brand new oven is the icing on the cake for Pretoria based small business owner and baker, Julia Msimango.

Msimango is among the many Pretoria based small business owners, who on Friday, received their business equipment from the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) at a ceremony in the capital.

“I’m so happy! I’m a baker, before I used to bake with my small oven in the house and it broke and my business was no longer moving. Today I’m going to get a new oven. My business is going to go up! I’m so happy!” said a joyful Msimango, who hails from Soshanguve.

The hot Pretoria sun did little to dampen the spirits of those queuing to collect their equipment. Msimango was queuing among fellow small business owners at the Caledonian Stadium located a stones throw away from the premises of the DSBD.

Delivery trucks off-loading an array of goods - ranging from refrigerators, electric urns, and sewing machines - could be seen as business owners signed contracts stating that they had received their goods.

The goods were received through the department’s Informal and Micro Enterprise Development Programme (IMEDP), a grant that is offered to the informal and micro enterprises. It also includes aspects of skills development, mentorship and the provision of basic tools and equipment relevant to the business.

Through her business, 42-year-old Msimango supplies her Extension 10 community with freshly baked goods.

Msimango, who started her business in 2015, battled with her small oven at home that often broke and led her to losing much needed business.

“Sometimes I even lost business because I could not deliver the goods,” she said.

Msimango learnt of the IMEDP while attending a small business course in Soshanguve through the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) which is an agency of the DSBD.

“With this new oven I already see myself up there [with the best],” she said.

Informal sector important to SA economy

Executive Manager for Seda Technology Programme Nosipho Khonkwane said the informal sector is an important part of the South African economy.

She said the informal business sector is one of the business sectors in the South Africa, constituting about 70% small business sector.

This as a total 225 beneficiaries from Pretoria were due to receive their equipment, while a further 325 beneficiaries in Gauteng will receive their equipment at a later stage. Equipment will also be delivered to other small businesses across the country.

“Equipment however is not the only solution. You still have other business deficiencies which we need to assist you with and in the coming months there will be a monitoring system which will be put in place,” she said.

Growing business

She urged business owners to put their new equipment to good use. “That is quite important, nobody is allowed to sell their equipment, and we want to see you making money out of this equipment. We want to improve the performance of your business,” she stressed.

Meanwhile, DSBD Deputy Minister Cassel Mathale said the department came up with the grant as a way to assist small business to buy basic equipment such as refrigerators and laptops.

“They just need basic things, those small things that they need will make a difference to them if they get them. We believe that as government if we can step in and give a helping hand to them so that they can make their businesses better,” he said.

Mathale advised business owners to have a healthy relationship with money.

“Money must be respected, our people generally need education about how to handle money, not only hawkers. To our hawkers, the little money that they make, they must save some of it,” he told SAnews.

The department has invested over R50 million for the programme with each recipient given a grant of around R9 000. –