Deal to grow businesses in Soweto

Nthabisang Moreosele

Nthabisang Moreosele

Soweto's budding entrepreneurs will be receiving a helping hand with the launch of the Centre for Small and Medium Enterprise Development at the University of Johannesburg.

The centre, which will be housed at the Soweto campus of the university, will be officially opened by the mayor, Amos Masondo on Monday at 6pm. Ihron Rensburg, the university's vice-chancellor will deliver the keynote address.

The centre will have development programmes for small businesses.

Its objective is to grow small businesses with a turnover of less than R10000 a year into entities with a turnover of more than R1million.

The programmes will be conducted alongside the normal work of the university's Department of Entrepreneurship to ensure that students are exposed to real-life SMMEs from Soweto.

"We have been operating since February and we are giving enrichment courses to businessmen. We are also exposing young students who want to learn about business [to entrepreneurship]," said the director, Thami Mazwai.

"We are going down to the core business in the townships. We cater for hair salons, NGOs and how to run taxis as a business."

Mazwai said businessmen should have at least two years' experience. The centre is also researching the effect of shopping malls on the small traders in Soweto.

The centre will work with the council on its projects by using the knowledge within the university to develop small businesses.

"The university will contribute to the development of the Soweto economy through teaching and research and partnering with the city and provincial governments. Small businesses will be provided with solutions for day-to-day problems.

"The centre's vision is to help power the creation of distinct and robust Soweto businesses into viable economic entities," Mazwai said.