The Tshwane Economic Development Agency (Teda) is calling on SMMEs to get in touch to benefit from various programmes it and the metro offer to small and medium businesses. Teda board chairperson Gugu Malaza told Vutivi News that one of the things the agency did was help SMMEs access markets outside the country. Also, there was the Economic Development Unit in the City of Tshwane that focused on SMMEs.
“If an SMME approaches us for assistance, we link them up with that unit, which has focused programmes for SMMEs,” she said. The state-owned company’s mandate includes promoting and facilitating investments in the metro, developing the capacity of emerging exporters to make them export-ready, and catalysing infrastructure-led growth and revitalising nodal economies.
Malaza said that while Teda did work in the SMME sector, it also helped create an environment where big businesses could invest in places like townships. Malaza is a firm believer that the growth of the township economy is not only in the hands of SMMEs.
“The (development of the) township economy is not restricted to SMMEs only, but what is needed is the infrastructure that is required to enable development in townships,” she said. “In my view, there is a lot that the township economy has to contribute (to the country’s economy. The key to the development is getting it right in terms of the township economy and what the key levers are of enabling the township economy.”
Malaza also spoke about the involvement of SMMEs in the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which is also known as Africa’s first automotive city. “We have a defined programme that is based on us doing export development and promotion for (well established or) emerging SMMEs located in Tshwane, and we assist them with getting access to international markets and linking them up with possible customers and markets outside South Africa (like) the Southern African Development Community region,” she said.
She said that SMMEs would have a place in the value chain of the Tshwane Automotive SEZ. “The automotive sector is a big player and a major contribution of investment, and that will involve the value chain that will emerge from those industries,” the chairperson said. “SMMEs will fit into the value chain. If SMMEs fit into the investment we have attracted, we certainly make sure that they go through programmes like quality assurance training (for instance) to be able to be suppliers to the big automotive companies that will be set up in the zone.”
Malaza also said that SMMEs were not where they should be in contributing to the country’s economy and needed more support. SMMEs are the biggest job creators in South Africa and globally.