A group of 14 emerging Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME’s) who waited for three years for approval of their applications finally got a head-start. This is the result of the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) making available some much needed equipment. SEDA is an agency of the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD), which provides non-financial support to small enterprises and cooperatives. The agency officially presented the range of long-awaited equipment to candidates at an occasion held recently (8/11) in Bloemfontein. The recipients resort under the Informal Micro Enterprises Development Programme (IMEDP).This specially designed programme aims to empower and capacitate informal traders with basic skills to manage their businesses and promote growth and sustainability.Equipment for hairdressing saloons, small food-selling retailers (tuck shops) and others was made available. Recipients reside in the greater Mangaung towns, Bloemfontein, Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu.Andrew Setho, Mangaung branch manager of SEDA, said the 14 emerging entrepreneurs were part of several that applied in 2016. He cited the processes for verification and procurement among the reasons for the long delay. According to Setho some applicants did not comply with requirements such as tax clearance certificates of compliance for small businesses. Some emerging businesses had apparently closed down because of the long wait for approval of their applications.Setho said equipment is an enabler for successful applicants and their patience is required. The qualifying criteria for this programme are that the entrepreneur must have been trading for at least three months, be South African and run a black-owned informal and micro-enterprise. They must produce a certified South African identity document for both owner and employees. The applicants must further provide proof of banking and must have undergone mandatory business development training at their local SEDA branch.Setho said SEDA partnered with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA). Nonkululeko Mlonyeni from Bloemfontein got equipment to start a hairdressing saloon.Modise Sehularo, director Small Business Development at DESTEA, said government had reviewed procurement strategy to force big business to buy from entrepreneurs in hoping to help uplift emerging businesses. The decision was in line with the National Informal Business Upliftment Strategy (NIBUS). “It aims at narrowing the existing gap between the formal and informal sector by providing acquisition of basic equipment and tools for informal and big business.”.