EU boost for small business

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

Gijima KZN, the European Union-sponsored support programme of the KwaZulu-Natal department of economic development, together with partner financial institutions, has embarked on a project to provide financial help to existing and emerging entrepreneurs.

This will be done through a series of workshops to address the difficulty of previously disadvantaged entrepreneurs and to attract financial investment for sustainable economic development, alongside the established and regulated economy.

In the next few months, five road shows will cover 10 district municipal areas in the province.

A pilot road show will be held in Ugu district and thereafter workshops will be held in other northern rural districts.

MEC for economic development and finance Zweli Mkhize will interact with entrepreneurs at one of the road shows to better understand their aspirations and the challenges they face.

Gijima KZN general manager Ranveer Persad said one of the objectives of the company is to leverage additional private and public sector funding for projects approved for implementation.

The Gijima KZN programme funds 70percent of a project to encourage sustainable partnerships. The majority of applicants have not been successful in securing the additional finance.

"With this initiative we hope to try and plug that gap, by introducing entrepreneurs to other funding institutions which offer different financial instruments.

"There is a general lack of awareness and information about the financial products and assistance offered by financial institutions and how to access these funds," said Persad.

Before the road shows, applicants will be required to fill in a questionnaire which will provide the financial institutions with relevant information.