A fruitful partnership between the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA) and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has been forged to help SMMEs in the current economic climate.
To this end, R2.5-million has been given to UJ’s Centre of Entrepreneurship to help stimulate SMME growth in the chemical manufacturing sector.
The aim of the programme was to address the marginalisation in the sector, according to CHIETA’s CEO Yershen Pillay.
The industry is unfairly dominated by medium and large businesses, leaving little space for the participation of smaller companies.
The partnership would target entrepreneurs in Gauteng and focus on areas such as Modderfontein, Soweto and Orange Farm.
“Even though 54% of South Africa’s entrepreneurial activity is made up of small to medium enterprises, the chemical sector has largely been marginalised, which makes urgent and targeted interventions increasingly important in the next decade,” Pillay said.
The programme would focus on speciality and commodity chemicals, and target 50 SMME beneficiaries, with an emphasis on black women entrepreneurs who are starting their businesses.
According to CHIETA, the chemicals sector contributes 6% to the country’s GDP and 25% to the manufacturing industry, with revenue above $35.1-billion.
Through CHIETA’s Small Business Programme, training on traction coach management, chemicals manufacturing and product testing, and developing skills would be available SMMEs in the chemicals manufacturing sector.
This would create access to markets to ensure sustainable growth of the SMME sector.
“Our core objective with this initiative is to provide SMMEs with structured advisory, mentorship and coaching support,” Pillay said.
“More importantly, we want to continue to cement relevant partnerships within the sector that will allow us to create a framework that provides SMMEs with opportunities to unlock business in both national and international markets.”
CHIETA said the programme was intended to create a larger pool of qualified and competent professionals.
“Opportunities exist where large and small organisations could collaborate to get appropriately qualified people available for work,” it said.