A total of R16-million will be pumped into a fund intended to support SMMEs in Western Cape, according to the provincial government. Applications for the SMME Booster Fund open on Thursday. The fund will distribute money to selected organisations, which will, in turn, deliver training programmes on business development support and access to markets for SMMEs.
The fund, which will be managed by the province’s Economic Development and Tourism Department, is set to enhance the sustainability of youngsters in rural, township and urban areas, rural, people with disabilities, and women-owned SMMEs. Western Cape finance and economic opportunities MEC Mireille Wenger said that one of her key priorities was to back entrepreneurs and small businesses, which were the backbone of the economy.
“Since the first iteration of the SMME Booster Fund in 2019, the fund has allocated R59-million in funding, and supported 730 SMMEs in the Western Cape,” Wenger said. Wenger noted that past recipients of the fund included the Baphumelele Fountain of Hope Farm, which is based in Phillipi, and the Association for Savings and Investment Funding.
“With this funding, they (Association for Savings and Investment) ran the Financial Literacy and Micro Enterprise (FLAME) Programme, which offers business support to businesses with a turnover of less than R1-million,” she said. It included entrepreneurial and business development workshops for participants who had either already started a micro-enterprise or who had a viable business idea.
They were then selected for further seed funding, business support and mentoring. Wenger noted that the SMME Booster Fund formed part of various measures implemented by the province to support its SMMEs. “I was very pleased to visit Salem Williams, the owner of Lekka Pies in Mitchell’s Plain, who received assistance through our dedicated Red Tape Reduction Unit,” she said.
“Mr. Williams contacted the business support helpline service to request information around funding opportunities that could save his business. Within 24 hours, our unit connected Mr. Williams with the support he needed for his business to survive in collaboration with the Small Enterprise Finance Agency.” The unit tackles the issue of red tape for the business environment by ensuring an effective and efficient business helpline support service to receive requests from the citizen and businesses for assistance.
It also proactively identifies legislation and regulatory processes that represent barriers to business or the efficient delivery of services, and designs interventions based on trend analysis reporting via the helpline.