The awards are meant to celebrate the entrepreneurs who are doing South Africa proud, as well as individuals and organizations who work tirelessly to support SMMEs and co-operatives.

The awards took place during Global Entrepreneurship Week. Amongst other distinguished guests – there was Mr. Jonathan Ortmans from the Global Entrepreneurship Network, Mr. Panyaza Lesufi (Premier of Gauteng Province), Ms. Stella Ndabeni-Abrams (Minister: Department of Small Business Development), Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa (President: Republic of South Africa). Mr. Mabutho Khumalo (Deputy President: IEDF) was also present.

In his opening remarks, President Cyril Ramaphosa emphasized the need for the government to get behind the country’s entrepreneurs and SMMEs and to strengthen the eco-system that supports them. This is even more pressing given the volatile global times we live in, he continued.

President Cyril is of the view that the focus on SMMEs and cooperatives can trigger growth, create jobs and build a more inclusive economy. The National Small Enterprise Development Strategic Framework aims to use resources within the broader eco-system to build practical partnerships that enable entrepreneurship and SMME growth. This has been said many times since the dawn of democracy – but nothing concrete has been achieved since then.

Is it possible that that there is something we do not fully understand about small business development and entrepreneurship – the understanding of which would change everything?

The problem is systemic. It is time to be honest here: Nothing is working. I mean nothing. Not a single major system that we have put into place on entrepreneurship and small business development is functioning correctly. None of them are producing the outcomes that we say we want. In fact, it’s worse. They are producing the outcomes that we say we do not want. And not only on a national scale – it gets down to the personal level. It gets down to you and me. All but the tiniest percentage of the country’s people are caught-up in a struggle. Daily struggle. Struggle not merely to be happy, but to survive, to get by, to just stay afloat.

“Since it was established in 2012, SEFA has disbursed more than R15BN to 642 000 SMMEs, creating and sustaining more than 850 000 jobs”, the President continued on his address.

Now this is the greatest clue – this is the biggest hint, this is the surest sign that something is amiss. You can tell that a formula is askew when even if the formula is working, it’s not – when even if everything is going right, something is desperately wrong.

That’s where we are today, and I think it’s time for a new system to guide entrepreneurs and small business owners. I think it’s time for a brand-new entrepreneurship system to be embraced by our people.

Now if you like your life exactly the way it is, and if you like your world precisely as it presents itself, you may disagree with me. Yet if for no other reason than that, you may want to join the IEDF. If you yearn to keep things the same, you should know all there is to know about changes that others (in this case, millions of others) are being invited to consider.

If you agree with me that it is time for some major changes to be made, in the country at large and perhaps in your own life, you would have come to exactly the right institution. IEDF is the future for entrepreneurs and small business owners.


Deputy Khumalo, IEDF SA Deputy President