Johannesburg – Small businesses must contribute at least 800 000 jobs a year if government’s target of creating 11 million jobs by 2030 is to be realised.
This is according to Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, who was addressing the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC), held at the Sandton Convention Centre, on Wednesday. The congress brings together entrepreneurs from around the continent under one roof.
Minister Zulu said small businesses were the key drivers of economic growth and job creation in South Africa.
“This means small businesses will have to contribute 800 000 jobs a year. As government, we are committed to facilitate innovative intervention to support SMMEs to boost employment opportunities for our people,” she said.
Prioritising township economic development, she called on entrepreneurs to familiarise themselves with government platforms to grow their businesses.
These include the Department of Trade and Industry through targeted grants, as well as the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and its finance counterpart, SEFA and the National Empowerment Fund.
“We are creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurs, they need to look at townships. For township economic development, entrepreneurs need to familiarise themselves with government policies, see what can be done and how it can be achieved.”
Minister Zulu said the entrepreneurship congress must aim to leave a lasting legacy.
“It must be the key catalyst that unlocks the entrepreneurial potential of our people. Together we must ensure GEC becomes a resounding success.”
Gauteng Premier David Makhura told delegates at the congress that the future of the African economy was dependent on the youth as they were the majority and leaders of tomorrow.
The Gauteng Premier said if Africa worked hard on investing in the future of the youth, they can transform the economy of the continent.
“We are working hard in developing an entrepreneurial economy, Africa should be proud that it is endowed with young people who are very entrepreneurial,” he said.
The provincial government has implemented interventions such as Tshepo 500 000, investing R10 billion in helping ease young people without work experience into jobs, as well as assisting those who are interested in starting their own businesses.
“As Africa’s most industrialised sub-national economy, we are at the cutting edge of promoting our country’s National Development Plan and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. We have placed innovation, entrepreneurship, economic integration, infrastructure development and Africa’s industrialisation at the top of our agenda,” said Premier Makhura.
“We are a hub for small and medium enterprise development, an economic hub of Africa,” he said.
He said his government was now approaching big businesses to implore on them to open opportunities for black owned businesses in the townships.
“Our other intervention is about getting big businesses to open opportunities for SMMEs, black owned businesses and township enterprises in their supply chains and value chains so that they have access to markets, technology, leadership development and skills. Big corporates have a duty to support SMMEs through their suppler development and empowerment initiatives, especially black owned businesses and township enterprises,” he said.