The Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism in conjunction with Nkonkobe Municipality held its SMME pre-conference road show on 15 September 2014 at the Alice Town Hall.
The purpose of the event was to encourage entrepreneurs who contribute to the local economy and job creation in the Nkonkobe region. The session was packed with presentations that seek to empower both emerging and established entrepreneurs. Presenters focused on how SMMEs can access funding; how to improve their businesses through informed market research and business strategies and developing influential business plans.
In his address, Nkonkobe Mayor Anele Ntsangani said: "The decision (to empower local businesses) taken by DEDEAT will bring a positive impact on our SMMEs and will definitely generate positive economic spin offs for this area."
He continued and said: "As a municipality we always emphasise the issue of lending support to our local businesses when crafting our budget, and also encourage people to come forward with their small businesses and co-ops so that we can assist where there is a need."
The Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) was also present.
1. Challenges facing SMMEs
2. Poor infrastructure;
3. Shortage of water for irrigation;
4. Business plans; and
5. Lack of co-ordination as co-operatives so that they can buy production inputs in bulk.
Eastern Cape Development Co-operation
Aims and Objectives of the department include the following:

  • Foster entrepreneurship and contribute to the establishment of innovation /knowledge based companies in the Eastern Cape that respond to provincial priorities and needs through access to Finance for product development and other relevant business support.
  • These companies will be geared to creation of sustainable jobs and contribute to the mainstream economy.
  • Overall, this will ensure that innovation contributes to the socio-economic development of the Eastern Cape.

The funding is provided as a grant, with a minimum investment of R50 000 (fifty thousand rand) and a maximum of R500 000 (five hundred thousand rand) per innovation opportunity.Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT), aimed at providing resources and support to local entrepreneurial partnerships.

In rolling out the LRED Fund, DEDEAT collaborates with other Government departments, Government entities, funding institutions as well as municipalities to create new economic opportunities that will enable new jobs, save threatened jobs, as well as promote an environment for innovation and enterprise development in the local economy.

  • Economic Growth: Increasing economic growth through strengthening of existing sectors
  • Labour Absorption: Improved labour absorption through skills development, especially for the youth

The global objective is to promote the enhancement of entrepreneurial partnerships in realising their optimal potential for economic development, and to exploit local competitive advantages through the provision of quasi-equity funding for projects that would result in one or more of the following:

  • Sustainable job creation (including self-employment) to reduce poverty levels, specifically among historically disadvantaged individuals, through the promotion of creativity, labour productivity, innovation and adaptability to change
  • Projects that will be favourable for funding are those that are, or will lead to/support, viable enterprises
  • Projects that demonstrate their ongoing financial viability/assurance of revenue streams

Targeted Beneficiaries

  • Local entrepreneurial partnerships, which may include local authorities and other public bodies, public-private partnerships, community groups, trusts, non-governmental organisations, private sector agents and representative organisations, as well as labour representative organisations
  • Project proposals that combine several local authority areas, provided they are consistent with the IDPs and LED Strategies/Plans of the municipalities concerned, will also be considered.

Size of Grant Available for these Proposal

  •  Funding is capped at a maximum of R3 000 000 per annum.

Eligibility Criteria
• In order to be eligible for funding, applicants must:
• Be natural persons who are nationals of South Africa
• Be legal persons who are established in the Eastern Cape Province •
• Be directly responsible for the preparation of the action with their partners and its implementation, not acting as an intermediary
• Have a functional office in the Eastern Cape Province.

Written by: Yandiswa Vena