Plan needed to realise dream

2018-02-21 06:02

The status of entrepreneurs accessing funds from the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa) is still not satisfactory due to a lack of equitable bankable businesses.

People have concepts that are good, but struggle to put it into a business idea that is viable for Sefa to consider.

This was revealed on Thursday (15/02) by Nothemba Gqiba, head of the department of marketing and communications at Sefa, during their small businesses and cooperatives event at the Big Hole Protea Hotel in Kimberley.

Sefa was established five years ago and there are still gaps, leading to slow progress of local entrepreneurs.

Local entrepreneurs struggle with growth, leading them to be stuck at the pre-funding phase catered for by Sefa’s sister company, the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda).

Although Gqiba highlights that Seda offers quite a lot in terms of the pre-funding phase, Sefa are hosting these engagements and presentations in an effort to close the existing gaps.

“We are aware that we also need to contribute in terms of meeting businesses halfway with the small percentages that they lack in terms of accessing the funding with a business plan.

“When the business plan is 90% viable, we can assist with that 10%. However, we cannot start a business plan from scratch. That is not our mandate.

“But in terms of funding, we want to ensure that all South Africans access funding,” she said.

The session focussed more on direct lending products that are accessible through Sefa’s office networks, ranging from R50 000 to R5 million.

Entrepreneurs, Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) and cooperatives can access these funds through branch networks.

Gqiba mentioned that those who fall below the R50 000 threshhold can make use of community-based strategic partnerships.

“We as Sefa are trying to increase the funds so that those institutions can increase their reach where they are.”

She said the reality is that there are a lot of people needing funding, but they need a good business plan to unlock it.

“We realised that maybe we need to find ways to assist those people, as some ideas are good.

“However, how they put it on paper is critical to show that they know what they are talking about.”

During her presentation, Hope Jabbie, Sefa’s regional manager in the Northern Cape, highlighted the mitiga­ting risks wherein Sefa can intervene through recommendations to allow the client better chances of paying back the money.

“We also mitigate in terms of suppliers to not loose goods in transit, and we do credit checks,” she said.

Sefa visited other towns in the Northern Cape before to highlight their services in different communities which might encounter difficulty in accessing funds from banks.

Gqiba concluded by saying that the community of the Northern Cape is aware of opportunities.

“But it is just a matter of how to access it, which can be a bit of a stumbling block, as some of the existing industries are structured to give access to people.”

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