Aspiring entrepreneurs can register their businesses, apply for tax certificates, get their Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) status verified, get advice or apply for funding at the Transnet Business Development Enterprise Development Hub at the Carlton Centre in Johannesburg.
Transnet has invested R60 million in the hub from the R200 million allocated to enterprise development. According to chief supply chain officer for integrated supply chain management Garry Pita, the hub is the first of its kind to offer different services under one roof.
“The problem that small businesses are faced with is that when they go to different hubs or enterprise development centres in the country, they will only be assisted with one or two aspects of their issues.” With the new hub, all services are offered in one place.
He added that the smallest businesses or start-up businesses are faced with multifaceted challenges and the new hub will assist in solving the problems quickly.
“They could have issues with starting their business, they might have tax compliance is- sues, they might not know how to get verified for BEE, they might not have access to funding or even how to administer their business. Now, this hub caters for all of that,” said Pita.
“You don’t have to go anywhere else. We’ve got a verification agency, we've got SEDA, we’ve got Gauteng Enterprise Propeller, we’ve got National Youth Development Agency, we’ve got SARS and we’ve got the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, and we’ve got Transnet itself that can assist you with issues like how to do business with Transnet."
Pita added that Transnet is planning to implement similar hubs in other provinces.
He said that the hub was opened as part of Transnet’s aggressive drive to expand opportunities for smaller enterprises and to propel new entrants into the market, especially black- owned entities.
“We had done a lot of work in indirect enterprise development through our programmes such as the Competitive Supply Development Programme.
“We then decided to start targeting direct enterprise development for small businesses with specific focus on those that are black-owned, black-women owned, people with disabilities, youth and even military veterans.”
Pule Raikana and Victor Mampuru who experienced the services offered by the hub fi hand had positive things to say about it. The two Riverlea residents say the advice they received from the consultants at the hub is valuable. The two want to open a car wash and chisanyama.
Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said small businesses were the lifeblood of the economy. He added that 12 million South Africans relied on small businesses to get by.
“The aim of this intervention is to ensure that we increase the participation of small businesses in the mainstream economy, as they have been identified as critical to unlocking economic growth and to pursue inclusive growth.
“Small businesses in South Africa employ between 60 and 70 per cent of the employable population. I therefore believe that it is our responsibility as government to harness this opportunity,” he said.
Transnet’s other investments
- Transnet has invested R24 million in the Transnet Lending Fund in partnership with the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller
- Transnet has invested R30 million in Shanduka Black Umbrellas Incubation, a non-financial support service aimed at incubating 100% black-owned SMMEs, which meet Transnet’s supply chain needs. The initiative is set to benefit the KwaZulu-Natal, Richards Bay and Eastern Cape (Coega) areas.