The sum total of the estimated 2,8 million small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) contribute between 52% and 57% to the gross domestic product (GDP). It is also estimated that SMMEs contribute nearly 61% of employment.
The South Afircan government aims to boost small enterprises, equalise income and wealth and create long-term jobs. Fostering entrepreneurship among women is a particular focus.
Developing SMMEs has attracted increasing attention in South Africa in recent years, as an engine for general economic growth, and for employment creation and equity acceleration.
The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) provides non-financial support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It aims to:
- improve geographic outreach
- achieve the desired impact on small enterprises
- provide a single access point for small enterprises
- be inclusive of all relevant stakeholders
- leverage resources in service delivery
- optimise resource usage
- align government’s service-delivery strategy coherently.
The Department of Trade and Industry established the necessary institutional framework for the promotion of a more inclusive economy, in the form of the Integrated Small Business Strategy and the agencies designed to deliver support and services to SMMEs, namely:
- Khula Enterprise Finance (Ltd) to provide financial support to the underserviced market of between R10 000 and R250 000
- the Seda for non-financial support
- the South African Micro-Finance Apex Fund for microfinance of R10 000
- the National Empowerment Fund for financing Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment transactions.
In 2009/10, highlights in this sector included:
- The Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme leveraged R227 million from the private sector for new technology development and supported 298 enterprises (64% of which are SMMEs), 2 187 students and 685 researchers.
- The Support Programme for Industrial Innovation recorded sales of R283 million, of which R191 million were export sales for new products and processes in 2009/10, created 176 shop-floor jobs and 59 new projects were supported against a target of 80 projects.
- The National SMME Directory was finalised incorporating SMME support programmes from the public, private sector and donor-funded programmes.
- The Cooperative Strategy aimed at developing cooperatives through the provision and upscaling of the relevant support programmes was finalised and approved by the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), including the Nedlac report in this regard.
- The targeted procurement for small enterprises, through the 10 Product Procurement Policy Framework aimed at increasing access to markets for SMMEs through government procurement was finalised and the SMME payment hotline was successfully launched in September 2009. The Department of Trade and Industry payment hotline received about 20 000 calls in the last financial year, and the value of payments facilitated was R210 million.