For Media Release

DSBD Reaches Out to Support 90 Informal & Micro Businesses in the STLM.

The Department of Small Business Development is planning to support ninety (90) micro and informal businesses from Steve Tshwete Local Municipality through the Informal Micro Enterprise Development Programme (IMEDP) – which is a Programme that supports informal and micro businesses with grant to the value of ten-thousand-rand (R10 000) to procure machinery, tools and equipment.

According to the National Informal Business Upliftment Strategy (NIBUS) – “Possibly the weakest link in providing support to informal businesses is the lack of a formalized relationship/partnership between the Department of Small Business Development and the informal business sector. Some of the challenges highlighted include:

  1. There are no designated platforms for the voice of informal businesses to be heard and their concerns addressed;
  2. There is no strategic engagement of Informal Businesses Associations by the Department of Small Business Development and its agencies, even with other government agencies, municipalities, donors and civil society organisations. As a result, capacity-building initiatives are not consolidated and, in most cases, conducted haphazardly in the midst of overlapping support processes;
  3. The representative structures of associations lack the appropriate skills in governance, leadership and management, developing database and programmes as well as in the operation of their entities to enhance the capacity of informal businesses. This makes them vulnerable to exploitation by agencies and government institutions; and
  4. Municipalities do not have strategies and the capacity to train and support informal businesses initiatives. This is compounded by the lack of understanding of the concept of SMME promotion in the context of LED management. As a result, municipalities look at and treat associations as irritants to their LED implementation activities.”

DSBD is piloting a Kiosks Project with the MEDA (Middelburg East Development Agency) – a skills development and community entrepreneurship development agency (or association) that advocates for informal economy development and is a key stakeholder in the informal economy within the Steve Tshwete Local Municipality.

The pilot includes the development of three (03) bakery cooperatives, one (01) sewing cooperative and one (01) laundromat cooperative in the Steve Tshwete Local Municipality. This involves 50 beneficiaries (of the 90 identified) – mostly from the east part of Middelburg, in a period of three (03) years.

The pilot starts with the Grow Challenge offered by the Informal Economy Development Forum (IEDF). Grow Challenge offers an online business training which includes entrepreneurship, sales, branding and marketing. It is an 8-week course – done at the convenience of a learner.

Immediately after the Grow Challenge Programme – successful candidates would then be placed on a NQF 2 Learnership – Flour and Confectionery Skills Programme which kicks-off with a mix of accredited practical and theoretical training that is done parallel to business & bakery management. Roughly six months into the programme – the beneficiaries will require “workplace exposure”. This is where the equipment procured for the beneficiaries via the IMEDP comes in handy.

All bakery & confectionery beneficiaries (30) will have to undergo the compulsory cooperative governance training prior to the registration of the cooperative bakeries and attend regular workshops for business and financial management to ensure that the bakeries function as legally compliant businesses. Continuous mentorship and coaching will provide regulatory support including record-keeping, stock control and quality assurance on the products. The compliance for these start-up bakeries is of high importance as it is the vehicle for these learners to start the proposed community-based businesses and provide them with the foundation required for being sustainable businesses and to create meaningful jobs. This is all done by the Bakery Incubation Centre of South Africa (BICSA).

There two extra programmes of the DSBD that will be triggered along the way, i.e. the Cooperative Development Support Programme (CDSP) and the Shared Economic Infrastructure Facility (SEIF). The implementation of these is dependent on the success of the Informal Micro Enterprise Development Programme (IMEDP).