Give township wealth a boost
THAMI Mazwai, head of the Centre for Small Business Development at the University of Johannesburg, spoke to Sowetan about the importance of growing township economies.
This week the centre held its annual conference on township economies, which was attended by President Jacob Zuma and more than a thousands entrepreneurs.
Mazwai commended Gauteng for seeing the potential of townships.
"But I do not think other cities have put the same processes in place," Mzwai said. "You will find it is more of a ad hoc type of approach that is very disappointing.
"If we do not grow township businesses we are missing a huge opportunity to create viable businesses in communities where the people are."
A study conducted four years ago showed that the spending power of Soweto township stood at R12-billion and only 24% of this was circulating in the township.
On the impact of malls on small retailers in the township Mazwai said: "The malls have brought certain benefits but what the town councils have failed to do is to have a strategy for the malls, such as saying that the malls cannot sell certain products, leaving them to small retailers.
"You need this type of intervention to revitalise township businesses."
He commended the introduction of the Small Enterprise Finance Agency, saying it was a major breakthrough in small business development. - firstname.lastname@example.org