Stronger small business base to reduce poverty

Shaun Benton

Shaun Benton

The strengthening of South Africa's small business base is a key part of government's 10-point plan to reduce poverty by 2014, Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa said last week.

Measures that aim to help small and micro-sized enterprises (SMEs) in-clude government using its spending power to allow small businesses to benefit from state procurement - a practice that is already underway.

The marketing of cooperatives, stronger support for small business development and increased access to finance are other measures that the minister mentioned.

The South African Micro-finance Apex Fund has already handed out R69million in loans. The minister said that this was quite considerable given that these small businesses were previously looking at loans of around R10000.

The final priority on the list of 10 is the reduction of the regulatory burden on small businesses.

The minister said that there was a need for better communication of the opportunities available from "second economy" interventions. The communication initiatives will involve the use of workshops, radio broadcasts, a television series demonstrating the extent of economic opportunities, and the Vuk'uzenzele programme.

Another priority is the enhancement of economic efficiency by strengthening the competition policy. Mpahlwa said that this could be achieved by amending competition legislation or drafting regulations to optimise this policy. - BuaNews