Small business can stimulate economic growth, job creation

Focusing on Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and cooperatives can trigger growth, create jobs and build a more inclusive economy, says President Cyril Ramaphosa .

“As a country, we need to get behind our entrepreneurs and SMMEs and strengthen the eco-system that supports them,” the President said .

The country’s first citizen was speaking on Friday night at the 2nd National Presidential SMME and Cooperatives Awards in Johannesburg .

The President told delegates the ceremony was pressing given the current volatile global times .

“Our prospects for a faster and more sustained recovery after COVID-19 have been set back amidst continued supply chain disruptions, high inflation and depressed market demand .

“Governments are under pressure to stimulate the economy and to provide more social relief, but with reduced fiscal resources .

This is the reason he is of the view that SMMEs can stimulate growth and job creation .

He told guests he was encouraged by the work being done by the Department of Small Business Development since the launch of the third iteration of the country’s SMME strategy almost a year ago .

The National Small Enterprise Development Strategic Framework aims to use resources within the broader eco-system to build practical partnerships that enable entrepreneurship and SMME growth .

Government is establishing a new one-stop small enterprise agency that will bring together the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) and the Co-operatives Banks Development Agency (CBDA) .

The strategic framework calls for concrete partnerships and actions in four areas .

 These include tackling the red tape and regulatory burdens that frustrate SMMEs .

“The Department of Small Business Development is also streamlining business licensing processes, with the Businesses Licensing Amendment Bill soon to be gazetted .

“But there is much more to be done .

We know some of the frustrations which tech start-ups in particular have with foreign exchange controls that impede inward flows of venture capital, and affect the local registration of intellectual property .

The other areas of focus entail addressing market concentration and enabling market access, especially for SMMEs owned by women, youth and other underserved communities; access to finance and entrepreneurship support .

“If we get this right, we can change the country’s fortunes .

The current administration, he said, has set a target of establishing new 100 small enterprise incubators .

 To date, the state has established 110 with another 11 under development .

“It is encouraging that the number of people engaged in entrepreneurial activity has significantly increased .

Citing the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, he said the working-age population involved in business start-ups in South Africa increased from 6 .

5% in 2001 to 17 .

5% in 2021 .

“This clearly reaffirms what our National Development Plan envisioned, the creation of 11 million jobs by 2030 with nine million of these coming from small enterprises .

“We just need to scale up our interventions to create a conducive environment for SMMEs, and onboard other eco-system partners, especially the private sector, to play their part .

He told the entrepreneurs in the room that citizens depended on their innovation and entrepreneurship to create the opportunities that would enable them to get the much-needed jobs .

“Congratulations to the winners and the runners-up .

You have gone through a rigorous selection process and thoroughly deserve to be here .

 It is your dynamism and drive that will revitalise our economy and improve our global competitiveness .

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