In an effort to increase awareness of its products, services and programmes, and help more entrepreneurs grow successful, sustainable businesses in the Eastern Cape, the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) launched a province-wide community outreach campaign at Sterkspruit on 22 February 2010.
The campaign aims to educate local SMMEs around the services available to them, especially in areas where Seda doesn’t have a branch or where access to its services is limited. It also works to build relationships with local municipalities, tribal authorities and LED departments to provide a provincial network of support for new and existing small enterprises.
To this end the pilot programme was launched in Sterkspruit, and rolled out during February and March to Barkly East, Queenstown, Kouga, Camdeboo, Aberdeen and several outlying areas surrounding these towns. More than 2400 entrepreneurs attended the events, which reflected the campaign’s positive theme – ‘Seda is here to help you…let’s talk business!’
The launch event was attended by numerous stakeholders, including municipal councillors from Barkly East, Lady Grey and Aliwal North.
In delivering the keynote address, Seda CEO, Hlonela Lupuwana, said the campaign provided an opportunity to reach more entrepreneurs than ever before, in line with the agency’s objective of ensuring equitable access for small enterprises to business support services through partnerships.
“Partnerships underscore the success of this programme, because together we can create an integrated SMME support service, which assists all entrepreneurs at every level. Together we can work to bring about change in the local communities of the Eastern Cape. And together we can help grow the economy of this province, and ultimately the economy of our country,” she told delegates.
Seda has been using stakeholder forums; workshops and plenary sessions; one-on-one meetings; briefings; newsletters and websites; and media communications to promote the Let’s Talk Business campaign and its objectives.
It has also been engaging Eastern Cape communities through targeted communications that encourage potential and existing entrepreneurs to approach Seda for assistance with starting and growing their own businesses.
This pilot campaign was a great success, and as a result similar campaigns will be rolled out to all other provinces in future.