It is very difficult for small enterprises to survive past the first year or two of their establishment. Many small enterprises find the competitive and cut-throat world of business difficult to navigate when they lack resources and are still trying to build up the necessary business skills and experience to run their operations efficiently. However, Seda’s Technology Programme (Stp) is turning this around.
According to Seda CEO, Hlonela Lupuwana, eighty percent (80%) of small enterprises incubated in Stp’s Technology Business Centres have survived the first two years of trading. Lupuwana was speaking during the Seda Incubation Day held on March 4 at the Durban Exhibition Centre, KwaZulu Natal.
Technology business incubation revolves around empowering small enterprises to use technology to improve the competitiveness of their businesses. The programme currently funds and works directly with 30 incubators across the country, ranging from ICT small enterprises to enterprises in the aluminium, platinum and even bio-diesel industries.
Not only do these incubators provide necessary business infrastructure and strategic guidance, but also an environment of learning and sharing in which information, experiences and ideas are freely exchanged. This builds entrepreneurs’ skills and knowledge bases, better preparing them for business in the open market, with a view to increasing profitability and growth.
“In the past financial year, the Stp created 6 778 direct, indirect and casual jobs; increased its support to 656 small enterprises; and assisted in increasing the turnover of the small enterprises it supports from R129-million in the previous year to R169-million. We are on course to see these figures increasing as more small enterprises go the technology incubation route. This can only bode well for our country’s drive to create employment,” said Lupuwana.
Incubation Day takes place annually and aims to build awareness of the services offered by Seda’s Technology Business Centres as well as showcase the successful enterprises that have come out of the incubation programme so as to encourage other start-up small enterprises to make use of the incubation services. It took place in Gauteng (Soshanguve Manufacturing & Technology Demonstration Centre), Mpumalanga (Timbali Incubator) and KwaZulu Natal.
In addition to incubation, the Stp also focuses on quality management, ensuring small enterprises have access to quality control, and technology transfers, which makes new technology available to incubators across the country.
Acknowledging the role of Seda and pledging eThekwini’s support to Seda programmes in Durban, Deputy Mayor of eThekwini – Councillor Logie Naidoo – stated in a message read out at the event on his behalf: “We at the eThekwini Municipality are ardent supporters of the Seda programmes, including Incubation Day... We are therefore proud that our government has budgeted for and invested heavily in Seda to ensure that the national and local mandate empowers a range of previously disadvantaged citizens, ranging from shop-fitters, emerging farmers to entrepreneurs.”
The Stp was established in 2006 by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), through the merger of Godisa Trust and the National Technology Transfer Centre (NTTC), as part of government’s national strategy to consolidate small enterprises support interventions across the various government departments and agencies. It is housed within Seda, which is mandated by the dti to develop and support small enterprises in South Africa, ensuring their growth and sustainability.
ISSUED BY The Small Enterprise Development Agency
MEDIA CONTACT Lindokuhle Nkomonde – Manager: Corporate Communications and Media Relations
TEL 012 441 1210
Date Friday, 04 March 2011