Incubation has been prioritised at policy level through the National Development Plan which states that Business incubators should be set up, including private-sector partnerships, with rewards for success. This could include early-stage entrepreneurship training, artisanal training and assisting small scale farmers and construction firms. (Page 29, National Development Plan: Vision for 2030.)
The New Growth Path targets 5 million jobs by 2020 whilst the National Development Plan targets 11 million jobs by 2030. 90% of these jobs are expected to be created by small and expanding firms. With small enterprises expected to play a major role in employment creation in the country, government has recognised the need to assist them become sustainable and business incubation is a key intervention in this regard. Since its inception in 2006, the Small Enterprise Development Agency’s (Seda) Technology Programme has helped 71.4% of small enterprises incubated in the supported incubators survive the first two years of trading, thereby giving them a real chance at being sustainable and to create jobs. The picture in South Africa is that only 20% of small enterprises survive beyond the first year and of
those only 40% survive beyond the second year.
Seda has incubation as part of its strategic focus areas and Seda has been looking for ways of scaling-up activity, especially in their four strategic focus areas, viz:
- Increasing Seda’s incubation footprint;
- Directing specific interventions to the small and medium size segment;
- Identifying and working with large scale projects and cooperatives and
- Prioritisation of growth sectors
Up-scaling business incubation
Ms. Hlonela Lupuwana, the Chief Executive Officer of Seda, indicated that an increase from 32 to 42 of supported incubators during the current financial year signals Seda’s intent to create a network of incubators.
Incubation Day takes place annually and aims to build awareness of the services offered by Seda’s Business Incubators 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. This event also celebrates the new working partnership between Seda and the Secopa Incubator which forms part of the 42 incubators this financial year, with a view to create a protected environment to increase survival rates for innovative start-up companies over a period of 2 3 years. Incubation Day events were also held in East London, at Chemin, and in Mpumalanga, at the Mpumalanga Stainless Initiative (MSI) in Middleburg.
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 42 incubators across the country, that are sector specific, ranging from ICT small enterprises to enterprises in the aluminium, platinum and even bio-diesel industries.
Seda Technology Programme (Stp) created 1700 jobs. 50 incubatees accessed 15 million from the Technology Transfer Fund and 70% were trained on ISO standards as per report from April to December 2012. 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.
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.
ISSUED BY: Seda - Small Enterprise Development Agency
MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO: Beverly Kgame
TEL: 012 441 1187
MOBILE: 083 533 8030
Date: Wednesday, 27 March 2013