Global Entrepreneurship Week to help small businesses

Entrepreneurship Week
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The Small Business Development Department says the country is still struggling to address some of the challenges faced by entrepreneurs. The department is hosting a two-day summit as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week in Polokwane, Limpopo.

Countries throughout the world are observing the importance of promoting entrepreneurship as one of the key economic drivers.

One of the goals of the Global Entrepreneurship Week is to create conditions for small businesses to thrive and to grow economies through entrepreneurship.

In South Africa, only 15% of new companies become successful.

The acting Director-General of the Small Business Development Department, Mzoxolo Maki, says government also wants to develop innovators.

“GEW is basically a global celebration of innovators and SMMEs who launch startups and bring ideas to live and drive economic growth, so about 173 countries worldwide participate. South Africa is very keen as a member of the world, that is keen to develop entrepreneurs and SMMEs. We are then part of that movement.”

Maki says R100-million has been set aside to help small businesses survive.

He says the department has not been able to reach all entrepreneurs, particularly those in far-flung rural areas.

“The GEW report says that South Africa does not fare very well in the entrepreneurship standing so responding to that the Department of Small Business Development has developed a program called the small business and innovation fund, mainly to support entrepreneurs and businesses in the ideation, proof of concept, start-up and scale-up face of the business cycle. This was our sharp response to the report that shows that we are not doing so well.”

Business owners at the two-day summit say access to investment and funding are the biggest challenges.

“We have a lot of challenges when it comes to advertising, when it comes to the place of work, and some of the fabrics they are not local content. Here in South Africa, we have manufacturing industries out of Polokwane, I am hoping to hear more about funding because the only challenge I have for my business is funding. I was told that there’ll be people from different organisations like funding, I can see that there is ABSA.”

The summit ends on Tuesday while Global Entrepreneurship Week runs until the 24th of November.