The Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu, has been hard at work since her appointment earlier this year, giving entrepreneurs the necessary support to grow their businesses.
Delivering her Budget Vote, Minister Zulu said she would increase non-financial support, create a demand for cooperative produced services and products, and increase supply of financial support to cooperatives.
She added that small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME) could make a meaningful contribution to the National Development Plan’s target of creating 11 million job opportunities.
“We believe SMMEs and cooperatives are a critical means to empower our people, a mechanism to draw new entrants into the economy, strengthen inclusive growth, build the social economy, encourage solidarity and create large numbers of jobs,” said the Minister.
She added that SMMEs contributed 57 per cent of South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) and accounted for 56 per cent of employment.
Diepsloot SMME Incubation Hub
Minister Zulu and the Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel also launched the Diepsloot SMME Incubation Hub recently.
The hub, which aims to create 50 000 permanent jobs, will be the first fully integrated mixed-use development that caters for all sizes of businesses, providing vital support and job creation to marginalised residential areas.
The SMMEs that will be incubated at the hub will be selected by their ability to make their businesses sustainable.
Building a Nation of Entrepreneurs
During the official opening of the Gordon Institute of Business Science Enterprise Development Academy (GIBS EDA) Minister Zulu said the academy must help build a nation of entrepreneurs.
The Enterprise Development Academy is a centre that focuses on providing scholarship-based education and support to micro and small business owners, helping them to grow sustainably and create jobs.
Minister Zulu said the long-term solution to the country’s unemployment crisis was to create a nation of entrepreneurs, not job seekers.
“Empowering young people is not an option, but a national imperative. Given the current state of youth unemployment in our country, we must challenge young people of today to seize the opportunities created by our democracy to create a better life for themselves and their fellow compatriots,” she said.
Minister Zulu added that entrepreneurship education needed to be taught from primary school level right through to higher education institutions.
The new academy will work on a scholarship-based programme offering education to all participants through the contributions of public and private sector partners.