Hundreds of entrepreneurs from across the city have received valuable business training and some have accessed loans worth millions of rand through the City of Cape Town's voucher programme for small businesses.
In a report tabled before the City's Economic, Social Development & Tourism Portfolio Committee, it was noted that 621 entrepreneurs benefited from vouchers worth a total of R1,4 million, during the year up to January 2007.
Of these, 100 had successfully applied for bank loans amounting to over R3 million. Over 33% of the beneficiaries are women.
"The City's business support voucher programme is aimed at subsidising essential business start up services for historically disadvantaged entrepreneurs over the age of 35," says Cllr 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.
"This is part of the City's broader business support strategy and is aimed at assisting emerging entrepreneurs not catered for by other programmes such as the Umsobomvu Youth Fund," says Cllr Grindrod.
"We need to start changing our approach from being job seekers to becoming job creators. The City aims to create an environment that will help entrepreneurs overcome formidable barriers of entry into the world of business.
"Whilst we are working very hard to attract the big companies and investment to Cape Town, we must accept that the jobs we need to create will come from harnessing the incredible enterprise spirit we have in our communities. The challenge is not to help start new businesses, the challenge is to help them stay in business during the critical first year of training," says Cllr Grindrod.
The City of Cape Town is the first local authority in South Africa to launch such a business support voucher programme. There are an estimated 60 000 SMMEs in Cape Town alone.
2 MAY 2007
DIRECTORATE: COMMUNICATION AND MARKETING
CITY OF CAPE TOWN
TEL: 021 400-2201
FAX: 021 957-0023
CLLR SIMON GRINDROD
MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR ECONOMIC, SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND TOURISM
TEL: 021 400-1384
CELL: 084 200 6060