Cape Town 26 may 2009 Local govt minister of finance Alan Winde in his office. Picture brenton geach

Londiwe Buthelezi

Entrepreneurs in the small and medium enterprise (SME) world expect the 2011/12 Budget to have increased allocations for the sector.

Entrepreneurs in the Western Cape say they expect Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to raise the investment on SMEs and put as much focus on entrepreneurship as there is on job creation.

The SA Black Entrepreneurs Forum (Sabef) said it wanted to see a turnaround in the method the government had been using to grow the sector because it was evident that the sector was able to maintain accelerated growth and remain unshaken even during the global crisis.

When President Jacob Zuma announced a goal of creating 5 million jobs in the next 10 years, the spotlight remained on SMEs as the sector that would provide the basis for the success of this goal.

Zuma unveiled a R9 billion fund for job creation during his State of the Nation address. Now entrepreneurs say a fair portion of this amount should be injected to the sector.

However, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism in the Western Cape said although there would be a mechanism to involve all sectors in the utilisation of this money, it would not be used to generate new businesses, but only to grow existing ones.

The MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde, said more training and skills development was needed to turn existing SMEs into an employment hub.

Of all the SME businesses that made applications for tender projects in the province, Winde said only 47 percent were successful and therefore the government wanted to providing training to entrepreneurs so that they would know what was necessary for them to get more work and income.

“In order for South Africa to create 5 million jobs, we need to triple our current economy and for us to do that we need to give power to what we’ve already built,” Winde said.

Sabef Western Cape provincial director Aubrey Mcetywa said that provision of skills training was necessary for the sector because the forum had observed there was a lack of skills development on the basic principles of becoming an entrepreneur.

“You will find that most of the entrepreneurs in the SME sector don’t even know how to comply, which is why they fail to meet requirements for applying for projects,” said Mcetywa.

The Local Government Business Network has also intervened in generating work for SME businesses.

The organisation’s chairman ,Peter Metcalfe, said its collaboration with Sabef was based on creating opportunities for SMEs who wanted to do business with the government but found it hard to gain access due to red tape in the emerging market.