SME minister to push for bigger budget allocation from government
Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu hopes the new department will be allocated a “big” budget so that it can effectively deliver on its mandate to support small businesses, Business Day reported.
Zulu was speaking in Khayelitsha on Thursday at a meeting with small business forums and other stakeholders as part of the department’s Imbizo Focus Week programme which aims to give the small business sector an opportunity to air their concerns and opinions.
The newly created Small Business Development Department’s budget currently falls within that of the Department of Trade and Industry, but it is likely to get a separate budget in October, during the mid-term budget review.
The budget the department would receive would be crucial for it to carry out its functions efficiently.
“As a department, we do not have a budget and we are relying on the Department of Trade and Industry … we will start talking about a budget in October and we hope we get a big budget so that we can help people,” Ms Zulu said.
Most of the small business owners who attended the meeting raised concern about red tape, saying it hindered their growth. Other concerns raised included access to funding, credit lines and corruption.
Vusi Madengwane, spokesman for the Khayelitsha Business Forum, which represents small businesses in the township, said the forum was “hopeful” that the new ministry would change the fortunes of the small businesses sector in the area.
“We face a lot of challenges here. There are no support structures, no access to finance … it is a difficult environment for small businesses to operate in,” Mr Madengwane said.
In her budget vote speech on Wednesday, Ms Zulu said the Small Business Development Department would provide extensive support to small business and co-operatives; and increase support through consolidated public agencies, enterprise coaching, mentorship, incubation and intensive support programmes.