R45m chan­nelled to boost Eastern Cape SMEs

Daily Dispatch - - Business - By MBALI TANANA

THE Small Medium En­ter­prise Devel­op­ment Agency (Seda) pumped more than R45-mil­lion into de­vel­op­ing small busi­nesses in the Eastern Cape in the 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year.

This was re­vealed by Seda chief ex­ec­u­tive Man­disa Tshik­watamba at the an­nual stakeholder fo­rum held in East London on Friday, where she said the province had also re­ceived the sec­ond largest por­tion of their to­tal bud­get of R754-mil­lion, af­ter the Western Cape which had re­ceived R50-mil­lion.

“These are the prov­inces which have the least re­sources in terms of fund­ing and part­ner­ships, whereas Gauteng, which we sup­ported with R29-mil­lion, the least amount in all the coun­try, is among those in­un­dated with fund­ing and other devel­op­ment agen­cies,” she said.

In the 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year, the gov­ern­ment agency has sup­ported 12 215 en­ter­prises as com­pared to the 10 679 in the 2015-16 fi­nan­cial year, an in­crease of 14.3% more small busi­nesses.

Of those 95% of the ben­e­fi­cia­ries were black owned, 47% women owned and 2% owned by peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, while 45% of the busi­nesses were owned by youth. Tshik­watamba said the year un­der re­view marked an im­prove­ment in Seda’s in­cu­ba­tion pro­gramme with 2 663 en­ter­prises sup­ported. “These en­ter­prises made a to­tal turnover of R825 688 064 in the 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year.

“We [have] also seen im­prove­ments in re­turn on in­vest­ment, ris­ing from 532% in 2015-16 fi­nan­cial year to 766% in the 201617 fi­nan­cial year, cre­at­ing 2 582 jobs in the process. “Seda con­tin­ues on a pos­i­tive per­for­mance path, with its 2016-17 re­sults show­ing both qual­i­ta­tive and quan­ti­ta­tive im­prove­ments in its work,” she said.

Board chair­man Dr Ivor Zwane said part of the pri­or­i­ties for the 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year had been to in­crease net­work of sup­port through part­ner­ships tar­get­ing higher learn­ing in­sti­tu­tions like TVET Col­leges graduates.

“Five cen­tres have been launched dur­ing the fi­nan­cial year at which the en­tity and its part­ners fa­cil­i­tated en­trepreneur­ship ed­u­ca­tion and sup­port to 2 181 graduates in the process, en­abling the es­tab­lish­ment of 142 SMMEs/co­op­er­a­tives by these graduates.

“This in­no­va­tion pro­vides for en­trepreneur­ship the­o­ret­i­cal learn­ing and pro­vides se­lected youth with tools, space, ex­per­tise, coach­ing and other sup­port through rapid in­cu­ba­tion model to de­velop new busi­ness ideas into vi­able com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties.”

Busi­ness owner, Max Mabuti of Flat Foot En­gi­neer­ing, a com­pany which started in Mthatha in 2006 and has now ex­panded to East London and Port El­iz­a­beth, said he had re­ceived a lot of guid­ance and sup­port through the var­i­ous pro­grammes, giv­ing his busi­ness a lot of ex­po­sure.

“Re­cently I had the hon­our to at­tend small busi­ness train­ing sum­mit in China with Min­is­ter Lindiwe Zulu and it was an ex­cit­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The Chi­nese have shown an in­ter­est in our prod­ucts and we are talk­ing about con­tracts. Al­though they have asked for us to have a man­u­fac­tur­ing plant there, I have made it clear that man­u­fac­tur­ing will take place in the Eastern Cape,” he said.

Mabuti who is also a Na­tional Gazelle of 2016, a na­tional SME growth ac­cel­er­a­tor funded by Seda and the De­part­ment of Small Busi­ness Devel­op­ment, has been in­vited to the Value Builder Sys­tems Sum­mit in Las Ve­gas as guest speaker. —

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