Many ob­sta­cles

Financial Mail - - FMFEATURE S -

“Very dif­fi­cult” – that’s how Hot Dog Café MD Derek Smith de­scribes get­ting his project to meet na­tional trea­sury’s Jobs Fund tar­gets.

Trea­sury re­cently ex­tended a num­ber of the fund’s en­ter­prise sup­port projects and has re­vised job tar­gets of oth­ers down­wards, as the wors­en­ing econ­omy has made it hard for many to meet ini­tial tar­gets.

Smith’s fran­chise was granted an ex­tra 15 months to meet its tar­get of cre­at­ing 372 jobs through train­ing and fund­ing black youths to be­come fran­chisees. The Jobs Fund has com­mit­ted more than R17.2m, with the fran­chisor con­tribut­ing a fur­ther R18.2m, to set up 62 out­lets. But by end-June, three months past the dead­line, the project had cre­ated just 218 jobs.

Smith at­tributes this partly to last year’s power black­outs, which led many cus­tomers to stay away from malls where a num­ber of the out­lets op­er­ate. Trea­sury has since agreed to ex­tend the project un­til June 30 next year. But now the slow­ing econ­omy has be­gun to bite. The com­bined turnover of out­lets was down 16% in May from the pre­vi­ous month.

For Cu­rafin, which fi­nances owner-driver schemes for seven firms through a R96m (half from the Jobs Fund) project, a 2014 strike pre­vented the project from meet­ing its job tar­gets.

Cu­rafin MD Bren­dan Nu­nan says the project was to have ended last year but that trea­sury has granted an ex­ten­sion un­til at least the end of next month, as the strike had de­layed the pur­chas­ing of new ve­hi­cles

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