Small businesses told co-operatives give the muscle to buy cheap

2017-03-29 14:32
Zanele Dlamini of Lunzuluthando Project Art showcased her work at the Sakhumnotho development services small business enterprises workshop at the city hall.

Zanele Dlamini of Lunzuluthando Project Art showcased her work at the Sakhumnotho development services small business enterprises workshop at the city hall. (Omega Moagi)

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Small business enterprises are not failing because they are incapable, but because of a lack of knowledge about business and the resources available to them.

So says adviser to the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (W&RSeta), Sbu Busani.

Speaking at the Sakhumnotho development services workshop at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on Tuesday, Busani encouraged small and informal business enterprises to join forces and form co-operatives to access resources from W&RSeta that could help grow their businesses.

“People often want to fight with foreign nationals because their tuck shops in the townships are doing better than theirs. However these businesses are only more prominent because they buy directly from the manufacturers just like big established supermarkets.

“And they are able to do this because they join forces and buy as co-operatives,” said Busani.

Also at the event were the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, the Small Enterprise Development Agency, National Youth Development Agency and Absa. The organisations encouraged small business owners to seek out their help when needed.

When introducing the entities at the event Sakhumnotho chair Thokozani Gcaba urged them not to waste the attendees’ time.

“Business service workshops have always been known to be fruitless. People come and here and make all sorts of promises and then nothing happens. I therefore urge the speakers if you are here to lie to us, please don’t bother,” said Gcaba.

Gcaba said gone were the days that the poor took to the streets and protested for services.

“We now sit in the boardroom with the relevant stakeholders and discuss how we can develop ourselves,” said Gcaba.

The event, which was attended by young people, women, and the elderly and disabled people with small businesses, was aimed at giving small business owners skills and resources to grow their businesses.

Thembeni Kwela, a businesswoman trading in designer clothing and textiles, said she was hopeful that the organisations present at the event would help her grow her business.

“I started this business in 2005. I was taught the skill by a woman called Elizabeth Barnes and she was also very helpful with setting up flea markets and distributing our designs.

“She left the country in 2012 and we had to stand on our own two feet. It has been challenging, but also a learning curve,” said Kwela.

Hlelo Mbense from the Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, said it was important for businesses, however small, to bear in mind the environmental impact that their businesses may have.

“We encourage business to protect and not harm their environment and we support ventures that use for example recycled goods to make jewellery. These are the types of business we support and encourage everyone to venture into,” said Mbense.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  small businesses

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