There are plenty of opportunities for small businesses in the Northern Cape, including driving industrialisation, according to finance, economic development and tourism MEC Abraham Vosloo. He was speaking during the Department of Small Business Development’s Northern Cape leg of unlocking opportunities for SMMEs and cooperatives for economic growth and job creation roadshow.
Vosloo used the event to give an update on plans and programmes for SMMEs, including the Northern Cape Provincial Growth and Development Plan, which provides for a strategic framework to guide sectoral strategies and projects. “One of the key drivers of provincial growth and development planning, being economic transformation, growth and development, identifies interventions in key economic sectors that are open for businesses to explore,” he said.
“These include agriculture, agri-processing, tourism and marketing development, the development of the energy sector, manufacturing and trade, competitive infrastructure development, employment and skills development, innovation and knowledge, and the marine economy. “It is about time that our SMMEs diversify opportunities from the supply of goods and services, and also venture into new and other sectors that will drive industrialisation in the province and result in job creation,” Vosloo said that the questions remained whether SMMEs were ready for the opportunities that would be made available to them.
The major constraints had been non-compliance, as well as little access to data and internet facilities. “The Department of Economic Development and Tourism provides financial and non-financial support to assist in crafting an enabling environment for SMMEs to grow and prosper,” he said. “As part of assisting SMMEs and businesses, 39 SMMEs in the province benefited from the National Relief Fund, receiving a total of R11.7-million, creating and maintaining 359 jobs.”
Vosloo also noted that the department linked up with the National Empowerment Fund to create a blended finance scheme which stands currently stood at R75-million. They had so far received 94 applications and we’re calling on businesses to take advantage of the fund. Vosloo also said that SMMEs were set to benefit from the Namakwa Special Economic Zone, which would be in Aggeneys. Business opportunities for SMMEs in this regard would include earth-moving services, construction, security, accommodation, catering, on-site sanitation and petroleum services.