President Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated how important SMMEs are in rebuilding the economy and creating jobs.
“If we are to achieve the goal of the National Development Plan for SMMEs to create at least 90% of the targeted 11 million new jobs by 2030, we need to pay far closer attention to developing small businesses,” he told a virtual meeting of small businesses and cooperatives.
The conference was organised by the Small Business Development Department, the Small Enterprise Development Agency and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency.
“To achieve an inclusive economy, we need to effectively support the growth of vibrant and sustainable small, medium and micro enterprises and cooperatives.”
He told participants that in many developed and developing economies, SMMEs generally accounted for over 90% of all formal businesses.
“They contribute significantly to GDP (Growth Domestic Product) and create and sustain lots of jobs in those countries. In South Africa, while 98% of formal businesses are SMMEs, they make a far smaller contribution to employment and (the) GDP,” the president said.
He said the Small Business Development Department had developed a business viability scheme that would help SMMEs compete against bigger players.
“As we make the transition from relief to recovery, it is critical that we continue to provide support to enable companies to recover,” he noted.
“At the same time, we need to introduce new business processes, technologies and equipment to assist them to adjust to the new reality.”
Ramaphosa also stressed the need to accelerate the Township Rural Enterprise Programme, which would provide support SMMEs in the township economy through financial assistance and removing the barriers of entry into the economy.
“These include sectors such as automotive, personal care, clothing and textiles, bakeries and confectioneries, tshisanyamas and cooked food, fruit and vegetable vendors, butcheries and spaza shops,” he said.
“Through the Township and Rural Entrepreneurship Programme we are providing both financial support and business development assistance.”
Ramaphosa again called on corporations to buy local to help boost local economies.
“One of the key elements of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan is localisation and we expect SMMEs and co-operatives to play a central role in driving localisation,” he said.