R20m pilot project to grow small business
Government has introduced a R20 million project to help small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) grow sustainably.
The Enterprise Development Pilot Project will support the SMME sector for two years until December 2017.
The project, a partnership between the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), the Department of Small Business Development in collaboration with National Treasury and the Middle Income Grant (MIC) of the African Development Bank, has three sub-projects.
Sub-project one includes a feasibility study to revitalise industrial parks as well as integrating local economic development (LED) in Municipal Development Plans. SMMEs will be supported to increase demand for their goods and services.
The Department of Small Business Development Acting Director General, Lindokuhle Mkhumane, on Tuesday said these parks hold the potential for job creation and poverty reduction, but are not performing at the scale they are supposed to.
Five key activities will support LED in six pilot district municipalities comprising 31 local municipalities with an estimated population of 6 020 461and provide development opportunities for SMME growth.
Sub-project two entails setting up a Specialised Industrial Facilities (SIFs) within certain municipalities to address access to technology constraints faced by SMMEs in improving their productivity and competiveness.
Under the proposed Enterprise Development Project, SIFs will be piloted in four Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVETs) colleges. This will also improve access to technology and innovation in surrounding communities.
Sub-project three includes a feasibility study for refurbishment of Industrial Parks established in former homelands and townships before 1994.
The dti Deputy Director-General of Special Economic Zones & Economic Transformation, Sipho Zikode,said: “There needs to be equal development of SMMEs across the country to increase the growth rate of the economy to address the challenges we face as a country.”
Once concluded in December 2017, government will assess the pilot project which can then be implemented across the country.