Gazelles gives SMEs boost
WITH 40 SMEs in South Africa already benefitting from the National Gazelles programme, this business growth accelerator is now looking for the next 40 businesses to benefit from its unique mix of financial, business skills and networking support. Applications for the National Gazelles now
– in its second year as a flagship programme of the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) and Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) are now open
– until November 22.
The programme supports member SMEs by helping them develop a growth strategy, access a R1-million growth grant, assists with access to additional working capital, networking, advanced business skills and other business opportunities.
Support is also provided by the programme s partners, who include MTN,
’ Productivity SA, KPMG, SAA and Avis. This ranges from SAA Gold cards and Avis Preferred Plus cards, to streamline business travel, through to a daily tender feed aligned to each company s specific products.
’ To qualify, a business must have at least R1-million in turnover, have been trading for at least two years, have at least two full-time employees, and be in one of 10 industry sectors. There is no cost to apply or be part of the programme, but members are expected to actively participate and report on their monthly business performance. Many SMEs are so focused on short-term “sales and survival that they don t focus
’ enough on strategic planning for growth,” said Seda CEO Mandisa Tshikwatamba. The National Gazelles aims to help each “member operate as close as possible to its maximum potential, by working with the business to design and implement a growth strategy, and then support that with the necessary skills, networks and funding.”
Application to the programme is only via the online application form. Individuals and organisations can also nominate businesses for the programme on the same website.
All applications are independently scored by the programme s audit partners. The Top
’ 40 are selected from a shortlist of 200 businesses through individual interviews in each province.
Gazelles member Bheka Mkondo of Ordained Trading, an engineering company in Mpumalanga, added: I would like to
“encourage any small to medium enterprise to apply and be part of the Gazelles programme. The Gazelles will expose you to the strategies and skills required to grow your business. It has certainly helped us grow faster and become better entrepreneurs.”