S.Africa’s SME space turns a new leaf - CNBC Africa

S.Africa’s SME space turns a new leaf

Southern Africa

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South Africa’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) space is starting to take shape. PHOTO: Getty Images

This is according to Lindiwe Zulu, minister of Small Business Development, who believes that the future of the country’s SMEs is looking positive.

Zule attributes this to the newly formed Small Business Development Institute hosting its first National SMME Policy Colloquium,

“I think that [the colloquium] is very important because it has brought together the brains of the country when it comes to SMEs,” she told CNBC Africa.

(READ MORE: Absa SME Index declines due to economic slowdown)

She added that many experienced and inexperienced business owners as well as practitioners have been brought together by a single forum, which provides the Department of Small Business Development with an opportunity to learn from each of them.

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“This comes at the right time for us in particular because we think that listening to people that have been in the SMEs space will assist us as we continue to put our department in place.”

In South Africa, information and data on SMEs is so widespread, making it difficult for the department to run efficient operations and implement effective plans of action.

(WATCH VIDEO: State of S. Africa's SME market )

The colloquium therefore brings all data into a single location, where entrepreneurs can discuss challenges, opportunities and success stories, allowing the department to take note.

She added that the main focus of the department is to find practical ways of implementing the National Development Plan as SMEs play a very important role in the country’s economic development and the empowerment of black people, women and the disabled.

Success stories from countries with a thriving SMEs sector such as Rwanda and Zimbabwe will also be looked at.

“Rwanda and Zimbabwe have invited me to SME conferences because they want to share their success stories with us. I’m very excited about it because with an economy like South Africa’s, we cannot afford to have our entrepreneurs’ space worse than other African countries.”

(WATCH VIDEO: Minister Zulu speaks on the strategy behind S.Africa's SME sector

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