New scheme set to widen market access for SMMEs

Friday, April 6, 2018

Small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) will soon benefit from a programme that will offer business development services and improve access to markets.

On Friday, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu and the European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, launched the Employment Promotion through SMME Support Programme for South Africa at Riversands Incubator in Diepsloot.

The programme will improve SMME access to finance and help ease the administrative and regulatory burden they face.

“Through this programme, we seek to contribute towards inclusive economic growth and employment creation through support for SMMEs. More importantly, it is aligned to our National Development Plan, which articulates a vision of an economy that is inclusive, equitable and fast growing, with the SMME sector contributing 90% of all new jobs by 2030,” Minister Zulu said.

She said government has identified small business development as a priority.

“We will ensure that the programme deliberately targets enterprises in the townships and rural areas, and those owned by women, youths and people with disability. 

“We must not forget that the townships were created as hostels to house people working in the CBDs of cities and scant effort was made to develop entrepreneurship in these areas,” Minister Zulu said.

She said her department’s partnership with the EU must assist enterprises to occupy their rightful place in the mainstream economy.

The Employment Promotion through SMME Support Programme seeks to ensure that private sector role players, as well as State actors work together in the best interests of SMMEs and co-operatives. 

“Since 2016, the Department of Small Business Development and the EU Delegation for South Africa have been hard at work identifying areas for collaboration in the area of SMME co-operatives development as part of strengthening our bilateral relations. The result was the ‘Employment Promotion through SMME Programme’. The financing agreement for this programme was signed by the Minister of Finance in July 2017,” Minister Zulu said.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela 

The Minister dedicated the launch of the programme to the memory of struggle heroine Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who passed away earlier this week.

“Her contribution to the struggle for liberation and her commitment to economic justice will remain indelible in our collective memory. I therefore wish to dedicate today’s launch to the memory of Mama Winnie Mandela, who taught us that our struggle was, primarily, about economic emancipation and extricating the poor from the claws of poverty,” Minister Zulu said.

Madikizela-Mandela passed away on Monday at Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg at the age of 81 after a long illness for which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year.

“In her memory and name, we must do whatever it takes to ensure that this programme we are launching this morning becomes an instrument of economic justice and radical socio-economic transformation. Never again, must we sit back and watch our national wealth being monopolised by a few,” Minister Zulu said. –

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