MSME support: Avenue for development
MICRO, small and medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), also known as SMMEs are regarded as key drivers of economies, and in turn gross domestic product (GDP).
South Africa’s Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu made a telling remark at the Global Entrepreneurship congress of 2017 held in Johannesburg that “SMMEs are the fuel of our economy”.
This, we also saw at the 2016 seminar on trade promotion and development of SMMEs for Lesotho, held in Beijing, China at the Academy for international business officials.
China experienced remarkable economic growth following its economic reforms from 1979, which stressed the importance of SMMEs support.
Experience indicates that for economic activity to thrive, the micro and macro environment should be conducive. We can talk of issues like good corporate governance practices, strong internal control systems, professional ethics and due diligence etc. Strong industries and institutions which are free from pollution, either unclear water, air, waste/rubbish scattered all over streets. The legal framework within which businesses operate should be user friendly so that entrepreneurs can comply with ease and at low costs. Political climate: Instability in the government threatens the smooth running of most MSMEs. This is because potential funders, investors, business partners, suppliers, trade contacts in general, lose confidence in engaging in trade with someone whose political environment is not stable.
Econet founder Dr Strive Masiyiwa, in one of his writings, said: “Entrepreneur- ship should be taught as a subject in all schools across Africa.”
I couldn’t agree more. This is because we need entrepreneurs now more than ever before, owing to the very evident high unemployment rate, especially among youths.
As we can witness, the biggest employer of people in Africa is the informal sector. We can mention small-holder farmers, street vendors dealing in airtime and snacks, fruits and vegetables, clothes, food, hair, etc.
These people contribute to economic growth. The question is; how their trading life is made easier, both by the government and us as the public. What policies exist to help them grow? As their businesses grow, they employ more people and that’s how unemployment declines.
There may still be some attempts to be considered in an endeavor to fight this unemployment. This can be done by strengthening the primary schools curriculum by introduction of entrepreneurship and leadership subjects so that even if children drop out of school while still at primary level, they can be able to start businesses to earn money for survival even in case of unemployment.
The entrepreneurship culture is already seen as we look at our brothers and sisters in countries like India, China, Japan, Germany and others. The children are exposed to business at a tender age and this makes them want to own their businesses and employ people.
Entrepreneurship skills set also entails, knowing how to utilize God-given talents to make money, e.g handicrafts, drawing, arts, music, drama, poetry, comedy, doing hair etc.
At JCI, we get to know of many development opportunities that empower young people to create positive changes in their communities, this translate into business at the end of the day when one solves the problems, in exchange for a certain incentive.
To all young people, I would like to say, let’s engage and contribute to our communities!
Sa Small Business Development Minister lindiwe Zulu.