The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies says government is 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 small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) sector.
Davies was speaking at the opening session of the 37th International Small Business Congress in Sandton, Johannesburg today.
“Small businesses have benefited significantly from working closely with big business in most countries, particularly in Brazil. The government of South Africa also recognises and acknowledges the role that big business can play in boosting the development and growth of our small enterprises. It is against this background that we have initiated measures that will ensure that there is a symbiotic partnership between our small enterprise and big businesses,”said Davies.
He added that one of these measures is the Incubation Support Programme that the Department of Trade and Industry has just established with the aim of developing enterprises that will absorb and upgrade the vast unskilled labour force, develop new technologies and strengthen the country’s economy.
Davies explained that the programme would 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.
“I trust that the private sector and our partners as well as our agencies will take advantage of the facility as a significant opportunity to contribute to the growth of sustainable small, medium and micro enterprises in South Africa. The facility will be open for applications from October, and will be available on a cost-sharing basis between the government and a private sector partner with the aim of developing and nurturing SMMEs,” added Davies.
Davies also said the review of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment legislation and Codes of Good Practice, as well as the establishment of the Small Enterprise Finance Agency were part of the measures aimed at boosting the SMME sector in the country.
Absa’s Chief Executive for Retail and Business Banking, Mr Bobby Malabie, said today’s economy was about creating jobs instead of looking for a job.
“We believe small businesses are an important source of employment, with as much as 68% of private sector employment being generated by small businesses that employ fewer than 50 workers. South Africa needs to grow its small business sector if we are to deliver on the government’s New Growth Path. We are committed to partnering with government in the development and nurturing of entrepreneurs as they are the key enablers to socio-economic upliftment,” said Malabie
The President of the International Small Business Congress, Ms Catherine Swift of Canada, said small enterprises all over the world face similar challenges including labour laws, access to finance, red tape and taxes, and the congress would be a perfect platform to share experiences and possible solutions.
The congress, which is held under the theme “Fostering small business in new and high-potential industries worldwide”, will continue until Tuesday.
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