Over a thousand Cape Flats entrepreneurs have received valuable business support through the City of Cape Town's voucher programme for small businesses. In a report tabled before the City's Mayoral Committee, it was noted that 1323 entrepreneurs had benefited from this initiative since the first voucher was issued in April 2006.
During the past three years, the City's Directorate of Economic & Social Development and Tourism has allocated a budget of R4 million towards the programme.
"The voucher programme is part of the City Council's business support strategy and is aimed at subsidising essential business start up services for historically disadvantaged entrepreneurs over the age of 35. This group is not catered for by other programmes such as the Umsobomvu Youth Fund," says Simon Grindrod, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Social Development and Tourism.
The vouchers are issued through the Red Door facilities in Atlantis, Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, the Mobile Red Door, as well as the Business Place eKapa agency in the city centre. These agencies diagnose specific needs and refer existing and potential entrepreneurs to accredited business consultants.
Support services include assistance with feasibility studies, business plans, business 'health checks' and business mentoring. There are future plans to provide assistance with BEE matchmaking and tendering processes.
Mansoor Mohamed, the City's Executive Director: Economic and Social Development, says: "The City aims to create an environment that will help entrepreneurs overcome formidable barriers of entry into the world of business.
"What is most encouraging is that beneficiaries have used the business skills they have acquired to successfully apply for loans from commercial banks. In this way, another R912 000 has been unlocked for small business development," says Mohamed.
The City of Cape Town is the first local authority in South Africa to launch this unique business support voucher programme. There are an estimated 60 000 SMMEs in Cape Town alone and this sector is important for job creation. It is also an economic empowerment vehicle for previously disadvantaged people.
03 AUGUST 2007
CITY OF CAPE TOWN
TEL: 021 400 2201
CLLR SIMON GRINDROD
TEL: 021 400 1298
CELL: 084 200 6060