Entrepreneurs as­sisted but fruit­less feed­back

The New Age (Free State) - - FREE STATE NEWS - GRACE BOLOWANA prov­inces@the­newage.co.za

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.

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