Before any small enterprise can begin to create jobs, it needs to stabilise and become sustainable. Unfortunately, many small enterprises do not survive past the most difficult phase of any start-up enterprise – the first year or two of operation.
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 through business incubation. Since its inception in 2006, the Small Enterprise Development Agency’s (Seda) Technology Programme has created 31 incubators across the country and has helped eighty percent (80%) of small enterprises incubated in its centres survive the first two years of trading, thereby giving them a real chance at being sustainable and to create jobs.
According to Seda CEO, Hlonela Lupuwana, incubation has been identified by government as a key priority area in facilitating transformation of the economy to promote industrial development, investment, competitiveness and employment creation. Lupuwana was speaking during the launch of Seda’s new partnership with SmartXchange – a Durban-based technology innovation node and a dynamic young business incubation centre - which coincided with Seda’s Annual Incubation Day held on March 9 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 31 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.
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. Incubation Day events were also held in Limpopo, at the Seda Limpopo Jewellery Incubator (SLJI), and Gauteng, at the SoftStart Business Technology Incubator (SBTI).
“In the past financial year , the Seda Technology Programme (Stp) created 5 305 direct, indirect and casual jobs; increased its support to 756 small enterprises; and assisted in increasing the turnover of the small enterprises it supports from R169-million in the previous year to R206-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.
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: Seda - Small Enterprise Development Agency
MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO: Lindokuhle Nkomonde – Manager: Corporate Communications and Media Relations
TEL: 012 441 1210
Date: Friday, 09 March 2012