Small business ministry defends its strategy

SBD Minister Lindiwe Zulu during the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Milan, Italy. (Photo: Supplied)
SBD Minister Lindiwe Zulu during the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Milan, Italy. (Photo: Supplied)

Cape Town – The small business development ministry defended its lack of new programmes to assist small businesses, explaining that it took on established programmes from other departments when it was created in 2014.

Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu told media on Monday ahead of her budget speech on Wednesday that programmes inherited from the departments of trade and industry and economic development are continuing, but are also being reviewed.

“While we are continuing to implement existing programmes, we are reviewing all of them, including those that are sitting with our agencies,” she said, "in particular, Seda [the Small Enterprise Development Agency] and Sefa [the Small Enterprise Finance Agency].”

“Our strong view is that we need to look at those and review the programmes,” said Zulu. “We will not do it overnight because we don’t want to look like we want to throw it away because we’re new.”

Developing stand-alone programmes

After a year of engaging with its stakeholders, the ministry said it has started developing its own stand-alone programmes based on its research.

“We have done our strategy, but a year is not a long time to develop strategies,” she said, adding that access to finances and markets is the key issue.

The department’s budget will look at unlocking the potential of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), as well as cooperatives and township and rural enterprises.

“One of the key issues that was raised by SMMEs and cooperatives during our interactions this past year was a need for government to offer business development services in an integrated manner,” she said.

“We are going to implement a colocation programme where we will ensure that together with provinces, municipalities, development finance institutions and private sector partners, we offer both financial and non-financial support in one place.”

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