Entrepreneurs assisted but fruitless feedback
THE department of economic, small business development, tourism and environmental affairs is working on a proper strategy and framework to help people gain access to the black industrialist programmes, Dr Thabo Mokwena, the chief director for Integrated Economic Development, said.
“Our work involves the implementation of the national development plan and, among other responsibilities, we focus on the black industrialist for black industrialist schemes. We work on economic planning and develop strategies,” Mokwena said.
He said they were linked with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Integrated Development Plan and the Free State Development Corporation.
“Our implementation of radical economic transformation involves helping entrepreneurs to gain access to finance. We supplement and provide part of our own contribution to their projects. We are working on developing skills with the DTI and to find a permanent structure so we are able to help people with proper business plans to increase the intake of the Free State,” Mokwena said.
He said they had come to realise that since people had been requested to apply directly to the DTI they didn’t get a chance to be assisted with their business plan. “They aren’t assisted properly to gain a grant of up to R50m from the DTI.” Only 2% of the small, medium and microsized enterprises (SMMEs) in the Free State qualified to receive grants from the DTI last year.
Malehlwa Leballo, a manager responsible for trade, investment and SMMEs in the municipality said: “We organise many workshops to educate and assist them in applying for grants. We help them to fill in the forms – but we get no results.