A chunk of the Small Enterprise Development Agency’s (SEDA) budget for 2022/23 will be used to establish incubation hubs and support tech SMMEs. SEDA acting CEO Nkosikhona Mbatha said the agency had set aside R902-million for its various programmes and interventions in a bid to ramp up support for SMMEs and cooperatives. This was revealed during SEDA’s annual performance and budget briefing with Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development.
The interventions include training and mentorship programmes, creating employment, and opening new markets for small businesses and cooperatives in various sectors. Mbatha revealed that R62-million would be set aside to establish 11 incubation hubs by the end of the year, bringing the total number of hubs to 121, with a focus on the digital space and digital incubators.
He also said that the agency was looking to reach 2500 SMMEs through its incubation programme. Around R159-million would come from the SEDA Technology Programme (STP) to support small businesses in the tech space. The agency was also targeting 100 SMMEs and cooperatives to help them participate in international markets, and at least another 2000 of them would get exposure to the local market.
SEDA’s aim was to ensure that 4000 jobs would be created by SMMEs and cooperatives during the financial year, and 20,000 SMMEs and cooperatives would receive training, mentorship and coaching through its various coaching and mentorship programmes. Also, 16,000 township and rural SMMEs would be supported through the agency’s Township and Rural Enterprises Programme (TREP).
“This year we will (also) embark on a programme where will go to rural communities and find out which (black-owned accountancy firm) provides assistance to SMMEs in that area, and we will be looking to see how those accountants will become an extension of SEDA, providing business plans and accounting services to SMMEs at no cost,” he said.
“Of course, they will be accredited and trained for this purpose,” Mbatha said the agency needed to ensure that small businesses remained a priority. “We need to position ourselves to say that we are here to serve SMMEs and that SMMEs don’t need to serve us and thank us for our services,” he said. “This year we will be doing a lot of training with our frontline employees on customer centricity and also to understand that the organisation exists because of SMMEs that are out there and need our help, and that without the SMMEs needing our help, there would be no SEDA.”