19 May 2017

South Africa: Government Committed to Supporting SMMEs

Cape Town — Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says hundreds of small businesses have received financial and non-financial support through several incentives over the past financial year.

Tabling her Budget Vote speech on Thursday, the Minister said the department has, through the Black Business Support Development Programme (BBSDP), supported 611 small businesses and has disbursed grants to the value of R268 million during the 2016/17 financial year.

"During the same period, the Cooperative Incentive Scheme (CIS) supported 237 cooperatives and disbursed grants to the value of R64.85 million.

"In total, R333 million was spent towards supporting cooperatives and small businesses," the Minister said.

Tabling the department's Budget Vote at the Old Assembly Chamber, the Minister said in the current financial year, the department is targeting 641 beneficiaries to the value R256 million for BBSDP and for CIS which has targeted 302 beneficiaries whose projects are valued at R78 million.

"In this financial year, we will review the Cooperatives Incentive Scheme and BBSDP.

"The objective of the review process is to enhance the programme's effectiveness to ensure sustainable and growing cooperatives in the economy.

"These instruments are part of our strategy to design relevant policy instruments in response to the need to bring about radical economic transformation in the development of cooperatives and enterprises," she said.

SEFA plays a role in stimulating growth

The Minister said, meanwhile, that the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa), an entity that falls under the department, continues to contribute to the stimulation of the economy through the financing of small enterprises.

The Minister said since its establishment in 2012, Sefa has financed over 237 000 businesses and facilitated the creation and maintenance of about 262 000 sustainable jobs.

She said during the 2016/17 financial year alone, Sefa disbursed just over R1 billion to SMMEs and Cooperatives, benefiting approximately 44 000 enterprises.

"We are confident that if we proceed along the same path, we will make a meaningful contribution towards achieving the target of 90% of the 11 million jobs as per the National Development Plan.

"Since 2014, Sefa has disbursed funds to over 50 583 youth-owned enterprises to the value of R955 million, of which R222.4 million was disbursed in the past financial year alone.

Women-owned businesses remain a priority

The Minister said women-owned enterprises remain a priority for the department.

She said Sefa has disbursed over R400 million to women-owned enterprises in the past year.

"We are aware of the challenges that confront entrepreneurs with disabilities.

"In response to this challenge and through Sefa, we launched a R30 million Amavulindlela Fund dedicated to entrepreneurs with disabilities.

"Through this fund, we seek to empower existing and aspiring business owners with disability to access funding and business opportunities to enable them to participate actively in the mainstream economy. To date, a total of R9.3 million has been approved."

Provinces procure over 30% from small businesses

In January, the National Treasury gazetted the revised Preferential Procurement Regulations that encourages government and its entities to procure at least 30% of goods and services from SMMEs and Cooperatives.

The Minister said the 30% targeted procurement from SMMEs has been exceeded by provinces such as Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and North West, along with some national government departments such as Public Works, Tourism and Small Business Development.

"The department of small business development recorded 60% procurement from SMMEs and Cooperatives," she said.

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