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SMMEs at core of drastic economic transformation
It has been established that small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs) need to be fully integrated and supported in order for the South African economic landscape to see any improvement. In a country still faced by the triple threat of poverty, unemployment, and inequality, developing smaller businesses could unlock some crucial economic opportunities.
Small Business Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu, spoke at the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry Convention 2014 on SMME support strategies. Where the National Development Plan puts much emphasis on government’s push to uplift SMMEs, Zulu noted that the state should not be the sole source of this funding.
According to her department, the government’s budget is not infinite and businesses across the country need to align themselves with the transformation agenda. Considering the urgency of the economic crisis, Zulu requests that the resources of companies be pooled to assist government in supporting SMMEs.
“If we do not advance the development of SMMEs, we might find ourselves in a worse [economic] situation than now.”
Furthermore, empowering the previously disadvantaged SMMEs, particularly black-owned and female-owned, has been prioritised. Organisations like the Black Business Council have been setup to target these businesses and provide support through training schemes, assisting in management, and creating partnerships with larger corporations.
Zulu would like to see government and businesses including SMMEs – especially black and female-owned – into their budgets and financial planning. However, beyond funding, she also urged them to gear towards transferring skills and setting up mechanisms that will create sustainability for these smaller businesses as well.
Businessperson Danisa Baloyi stated that for government to achieve the National Development Plan’s annual five percent growth target, it would have to make a concerted effort in the aggressive development and integration of SMMEs into the South African economic market.