The concept of strength through unity is at the heart of Seda’s newly formed Co-operatives and Community Public Private Partnership (CPPP) programme that aims to ensure the growth and sustainability of co-operatives and collectively owned enterprises by facilitating public and private partnerships.
The official launch of the Co-operatives and CPPP programme was fittingly held at Swartberg in the Sisonke District of Kwazulu-Natal on the 17th August, with a range of high profile dignitaries in attendance including: local Chief Makhoba, Seda CEO Hlonela Lupuwana and dti Deputy Minister Maria Ntuli.
Speaking at the event, Ntuli said that the success of the small business sector is seen as the cornerstone of economic growth in South Africa. “The reality is, however, that economic freedom can only occur, when people are empowered to improve their lives. For this reason, one of the most important freedoms anyone can have is the ability to maximise their skills or to give their children the chances that they never had.”
Within this context, the newly formed programme stems from Small Enterprise development Agency’s (Seda) aim of providing business support and development services to small enterprises in South Africa, as well as its mandate of ensuring equitable access of these services to various groups in society. It does this through a number of programmes, one of which is the Cooperatives and Community Public Private Partnership (CPPP) Programme.
One of the aspects of the programme is support for female-driven co-ops. Seda CEO Hlonela Lupuwana says; “Despite the fact that female-owned enterprises contribute an increasing share to national revenue, with approximately 70% of informal businesses in South Africa owned or controlled by women, these budding entrepreneurs are still perceived as lacking the capacity of their male equivalents.
The mission of the Coops and CPPP Programme is therefore to promote the establishment of rural and collectively-owned enterprises and ensure their growth and sustainability by facilitating public and private partnerships.
Overall, the new Co-ops and CPPP programme aims to identify markets, resources, technical assistance and capacity-building opportunities that will enhance competitiveness and sustainability of enterprises. This will be facilitated by promoting the use of industry tools and models that enhance efficiency and planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of staff and projects.
As is the case with Seda’s other highly-success initiatives, the Co-ops and CPPP programme will follow the already successful model of establishing well-coordinated programmes to educate, advise and develop entrepreneurial skills and productivity. It will focus on four key sectors, namely Agro-processing, Community Tourism and Protected Areas, Mining and Mineral Beneficiation and Trading and Auxiliary enterprises and is already involved in ten projects across South Africa, in areas as diverse as: Tarentaal in Limpopo, Swartberg in Kwazulu Natal and Gonubie in the Eastern Cape.
As Lupuwana points out; ““It’s crucial that the obstacles facing new entrants in the SMME sector are unblocked through the provision of adequate assistance. Within this context, women remain an untapped resource and therefore represent an entrepreneurial group that is especially in need of Seda’s support