Cape Town – The South Africa government was committed to help small enterprises grow into thriving businesses, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu told international business leaders in Milan, Italy this week.
She told delegates at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) that Africa stood on the threshold of an unprecedented economic success. Small businesses would be the main drivers of this growth, job creation and poverty reduction,” she said.
“Small business development is the key to unlock economic opportunities and thus achieve inclusive economic growth and sustainable employment.”
Johannesburg was announced as the host city for the 2017 GEC.
“Small business is big business”, she told the congress, reiterating the call by President Jacob Zuma. “Our policy interventions in South Africa seek to ensure that small enterprises grow into thriving businesses. They cannot remain small forever”.
She said that the high rate of unemployment, poverty and extreme inequality in South Africa called for bold and far-sighted interventions.
Zulu met Italian agencies and companies in order to identify opportunities for South African small businesses.
“As government, we remain open and receptive to new policy ideas that will help accelerate the formation of new businesses and sustainability of existing one,” she said. “We see the GEC as a powerful platform to learn what other successful nations are doing to promote and sustain enterprise development”, said Minister Zulu.
“We will focus on providing financial and non-financial support to small businesses,” she said. “We want to reduce obstacles to doing business wherever possible.”
“There is general recognition that Africa is the next growth pole of the world. It is up to us, Africans, to seize the moment and ensure that Africa becomes an unprecedented economic success”.
Zulu also touched on the violence affecting businesses owned by foreign nationals in Soweto. She reiterated government’s condemnation of the violence, the loss of lives and destruction of property.
“As government, we proceed from the premise that all people living in South Africa, including foreigners, are entitled to the full protection of our law,” she said. “We will continue to act firmly and decisively against people who break the law and those who take the law into their own hands”.
“I established a task team to look at the underlying causes of the problem and to determine what needs to be done. I am confident that the Task Team will deliver a lasting solution.”