Minister of Small Business Development, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, has encouraged small business in townships and rural areas to apply for support through the Township and Rural Entrepreneurship Programme (TREP).
“We are deliberate in addressing unemployment and poverty but we also have a responsibility to grow the economy,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
Addressing the SheTradesZA Youth Seminar on Wednesday in Pretoria, the Minister said the maximum value of TREP stands at R1 million, with one component being a grant and the other a loan.
“The TREP is a dedicated programme to transform and integrate opportunities in townships and rural areas into productive business ventures. The focus is to create platforms that provide business support infrastructure and a regulatory environment that enables entrepreneurs to thrive,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
Township or rural-based entrepreneurs can apply for support, including funding, through the common application template from the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA), National Empowerment Fund (NEF) and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).
Owners of the business must be South African nationals.
The following schemes are available for qualifying entrepreneurs:
• Small-Scale Bakeries and confectioneries support programme
• Autobody repairers and mechanics support programme (as well as small and independent auto-spares shops and informal automotive entrepreneurs)
• Butcheries support programme
• Clothing, leather and textiles support programme
• Personal care support programme
• Spaza-shop support programme
• Tshisanyama and cooked food support programme
Registration can be done on https://smmesa.gov.za/ and complete the information required.
In an effort to ensure the funding processes for small business is seamless and user friendly, government is working toward merging entities for small businesses to form one agency.
“We are currently in the process of merging SEFA and SEDA as well as the Co-operative Banks Development Agency.
“As many of you noted, during his State of the Nation Address, President Cyirl Ramaphosa announced the appointment of a red tape Tsar, to assist us to coordinate between stakeholders, to make it easier to start and conduct business and to grow our economy,” the Minister said.
Government continues to prioritise small businesses
Ndabeni-Abrahams said through various initiatives, government has assisted the small business sector to grow and create much needed employment.
“The Department of Small Business Development and SEDA formed a partnership with the International Trade Centre (ITC), in order to bring the SheTrades programme to South Africa, and create a SheTradesZA hub.
“The programme aims to empower women-owned enterprises to trade locally, regionally, and internationally. The hub supports strengthening the business skills and competitiveness of at least 10,000 South African women entrepreneurs over a four-year period,” the Minister said.
Nearly 3000 South African women entrepreneurs are already registered on the SheTradesZA Hub and receive free e-learning and capacity building.
The SheTradesZA Hub will also improve access to investment for women-owned enterprises and promote business opportunities.
“The department and SEDA’s involvement in the She-Trades Hub demonstrates our commitment to developing and ensuring economic empowerment of women in South Africa.
“We also have the Youth Challenge Fund (YCF), which is a youth start-up support programme intended to stimulate the establishment and growth of youth-owned businesses, promote digital skills, grow the economy and foster job creation,” the Minister said.
She said the R2 billion SEFA funding envelope will see over R200 million disbursed in each province and slightly more for the poorer rural provinces such as Limpopo, the Free State, the North West, the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, and the Northern Cape.
“This R2 billion is expected to support 84 831 small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) and co-operatives creating 104 968 jobs,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
Source: South African Government News Agency