Calls for departments to support youth-owned enterprises

22925026322_9c4d4836ba_zAs South Africa commemorates youth month, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has called on departments to support businesses that are owned by young people.

The Minister said this when government’s economic cluster Ministers went to the National Assembly to answer oral questions on Wednesday.

“What we would like to say … is to call on all departments, not only to be just celebrating young people today, but open up in the value chain of the opportunities so that youth-owned enterprises begin to feel that they are becoming part and parcel of the mainstream economy of South Africa,” she said.

ANC MP Xitlhangoma Mabasa had asked the Minister what her department was doing to ensure that young people are provided with an enabling environment to be able to participate in the mainstream of the economy.

In her response, the Minister said the month of June is very important not only to the Department of Small Business Development, but for all South Africans.

“It is this reason that we boldly introduced a system of mainstreaming of programmes to ensure that 50% of our programmes support enterprises in township areas, 50% to women-owned enterprises, 30% to youth-owned enterprises and 30% to enterprises operating in rural areas and in this financial year, we are planning greater emphasis for youth owned enterprises,” she said.

Youth told to emulate Class of 76

The Minister said in her interactions with young people, she has reminded them that the Class of 76 fought tirelessly to liberate South Africa politically.

“And I have said to young people, nobody can take that away from the June 16 generation. I say to the young people of today, we have delivered and assurance that South Africa is free, South Africa is democratic, South Africa has got the relevant institutions to defend the democracy.

“What the young people of today must do is to do what the June 16 generation did, but focus on economic transformation, focus on ensuring that they take advantage of all opportunities that are presented by this government,” she said.

Plan to bolster the SMME sector

The Minister said, meanwhile, that from her experience in the three years in the department, she has come to realise that black people would like to work and that they would like to create wealth for themselves as much as everyone else as citizens of the country.

She said struggle stalwart Oliver Reginald Tambo worked very hard for the liberation movement to get South Africa where it is today.

That groundwork that has been laid, the Minister said, is being continued by the government of today.

She said this was because it remains very difficult in particular for the majority of small and medium enterprises and cooperatives, particularly those that are black women and youth-owned, to enter into the space because the economy of South Africa due to apartheid policies that marginalised them.

“Therefore, this Department of Small Business Development, especially in the current year, is targeting 641 beneficiaries to the value of R246 million for black business supplier development programme and the cooperatives incentive scheme has targeted 302 beneficiaries whose projects are valued at R78 million.

“The enterprise incubation programme is allocated R49.7 million. The national informal business upliftment scheme is allocated R99.4 million for the current financial year. The small enterprise development agency (SEDA) is allocated R743.1 million in this financial year.

“I would like to say upfront that this is a far cry if you consider the kind of demand and the kind of assistance that our people need overall to make sure that they earn their living through growing their businesses but also ensuring that their businesses are successful.

“As part of our ambitions to bring the majority of black persons, who have been excluded from the economic activities during the apartheid years, the 2019 aspirations that we have set ourselves to realise are to ensure growth in the contribution of SMMEs to GDP growth from 42% to 45% because this is what we see globally – the contribution of SMMEs to the GDP in developed countries – is quite high, including in the African continent,” she said.

She said to help SMMEs that experience challenges with access to finance, the department will coordinate the R15 billion in small business support through various pockets of government to ensure a greater return on investment.

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