Gazelles gives SMEs boost

Sunday World - - WORLD OF JOBS - For more info and to ap­ply go to­tion­al­ or e-mail ap­pli­ca­tions@na­tion­al­ to re­ceive a link to the ap­pli­ca­tion form.

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.”

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