Small businesses in the tourism sector situated in the Pilanesberg in North West are set to benefit from a newly-established incubation programme
The Department of Tourism has launched the Tourism Enterprise Development Incubator which will be a virtual vehicle used to provide support to small business.
“The programme will focus on viable existing small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) at the selected tourism nodes. The SMMEs must be affiliated to a local tourism association and be operational.
There is no turnover requirement for participation by SMMEs but those that fit the official description of SMMEs in line with the Small Development Act will be considered in the evaluation of suitability for inclusion in the incubator, said Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom during the launch.
He said the success of the incubator programme relies on the involvement of the community.
“The success of our programmes is dependent on quality leadership as well as a stable and willing community that is hungry for success. That hunger will create opportunities for our people.”
Speaking on behalf of the 50 incubatees, chairperson of the Bojanala Tour Operators Association Lester Ntsabo said the programme would ensure sustainable growth in their businesses.
“As tourism business owners we really need this kind of support to grow our businesses. Tourism is one of the most influential sectors used to drive our economy and it is necessary for tourism businesses to be capacitated and supported by government,” said Ntsabo.
Echoing Ntsabo’s sentiments was Zinzi Lekoalo who owns a guesthouse in Mogwase. She started her business in 2011 with only four rooms. Today her guesthouse has grown and currently has 25 rooms, a boardroom, conference centre, a bar and restaurant.
She said she is hopeful that this will help the businesses in and around the Pilanesberg tourism node.
“We’ve got very high expectations especially those that would like to grow their businesses. They will point us the in the right direction.”
The department will help the 50 businesses to access more markets, and with mentoring and financial management.
The incubator programme will also be launched in Mpumalanga.