Small Business Budget Vote
The Minister for Small Business Development delivered the budget vote for her department. Parliament has to approve the budget. The Minister highlighted that her department has created awareness of small business needs within various government depts. This is important as the President stated that 30% of government procurement must be allocated to small medium micro enterprises (smmes). National Treasury is working on bill to ensure the implementation of this policy statement. There are various views including that the 30% is not sufficient for radical economic transformation. I'm keen to see how this will unfold.
The dept along with its entities, Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) and Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) are working together in creating an environment conducive for small business. It was noted that recent downgrades will impact small businesses and the department has commissioned research to ascertain how to react to assist small business.
Access to finance are made available through grants to small businesses. This was implemented as follows:
1. Black Business Support Development Programme (BBSDP) - 611 small businesses were supported and grants to the value of R268 million were disbursed.
2. Cooperative Incentive Scheme (CIS) supported 237 cooperatives and disbursed grants to the value of R64.85 million.
A total of R333 million was spent towards supporting cooperatives and small businesses for the 2016/17 financial year.
The Minister was criticised about the significance of her department in assisting small businesses. Seda was criticised for its bureaucracy and administration in the interview process.
As a small business myself, my experience with Seda has been very positive. I literally walked in at Seda offices in Wynberg and received assistance immediately in terms of guidance as to what to do. Although, Carlette, was very encouraging, she skilfully interrogated my motives for starting my venture. I recently learnt that my application for funding for promotional materials was approved. Thank you to Seda offices for assistance!
One thing is clear and I do agree with the Chairperson for the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development, we all have to work together. It is not something that a government department can achieve on its own. Business, civil societies and government work on what we agree on. That can only happen once we enter into purposeful and meaningful discussions aimed at finding solutions.