Durban - An eThekwini business seminar was held on Tuesday by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and eThekwini Municipality in Durban to provide information to entrepreneurs on funding and assistance available from government and agencies to grow small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).
Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Nomalungelo Gina, said the event was part of the department’s initiatives to create awareness among business owners of the opportunities available for them.
“We are sharing information that the government has and how we can help businesses. It’s not just about helping financially, we assist with advice on what is needed to make a business thrive.’’
She added that the department was not only targeting SMMEs and had an engagement with the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry on how larger businesses could be assisted.
Sibusiso Lushaba, ward 26 councillor in the eThekwini Municipality, said it was important for such events to be held.
“We are so pleased the national Department of Trade and Industry has decided to have this event in Durban. We’ve brought in different entities so they can help small business owners.”
Sthembiso Makhanya, owner of Themzak Group which manufactures cleaning and laundry products, said he was a recipient of funding from a government agency and his business had been thriving.
“We applied for funding some years back as we had problems with our machines. The funding was incredible as we were able to buy a fully automated machine where we could do packaging and labelling. We were able to introduce our products to retailers.
“We started with one branch in Durban and five staff, we now have three branches, in Durban, in Richards Bay and in Joburg. We have almost 40 people working for us and we are grateful for the funding we have received from the government.”
Pat Moodley from the Industrial Development Corporation said their main focus was assisting businesses in manufacturing.
“We look at applications and determine which type of funding would best suit a business. What is important is that business owners who want us to assist need to have a market for their product, it needs to be innovative and competitively priced. You need to be able to show us that if you are selling a product which is already out there, what is different about your product.”