A celebration of entrepreneurial stars at the 2nd National Presidential SMMEs & Co-operatives Awards 2023

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Many people wonder unto themselves, what would the South African economic landscape look like without the brave people who go off the beaten path and venture out into the unknown quests of enterprise? The answer to that question lies in all the strides and initiatives that the government continues to make in order to support the growth of small medium and micro enterprises. That is why the Department of Small Business Development under the leadership of Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, assembled some of the finest entrepreneurs in the country to celebrate the contribution they make in and around the South African economy.

 

The Department of Small Business Development with the help of its agencies, the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) came together once again to host the second National Presidential SMMEs and Co-operatives Awards ceremony on Friday 17 November at the Indaba Hotel in Fourways, South Africa.True to South African flair, attendees of the ceremony came out looking glamourous and stunning. Dignitaries from government, business and civil society also honoured the invitation with great enthusiasm. Among these dignitaries was none other than His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa who took to the stage to share congratulatory sentiments with the entrepreneurs in attendance.

 

In his address, he clearly outlined the government’s strategic framework interventions which are set to level the playing field for SMMEs and Co-operatives. President Ramaphosa cited four areas of focus within the strategic framework. He mentioned that the government has plans to establish a small enterprise ombuds office to tackle unfair practices that SMMEs are subjected to such as non-payment for goods and services rendered. This has been among the main reasons why small businesses fail to make it past the three-year mark in South Africa. Showing a sense of accountability, President Ramaphosa admitted to government being among the defaulters of payment and made a commitment that perpetrators of this habit would be brought to book.

 

The second area of focus in the strategic framework is market concentration which hinders market access through systematic barriers such as exclusivity clauses within the retail sector. He further applauded the Competition Commission for working tirelessly in resolving such hindrances. The third focus area is ensuring that half of the finance within Departmental Finance Institutions be dedicated specifically to the SMMEs and Co-operatives. Citing that DFIs such as the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) have disbursed R23 billion since 2005, contributing towards the employment of over 130,000 people to date. The fourth and final area of focus that will enable economic growth is entrepreneurship through the development of business incubators. President Ramaphosa was pleased to state that government has exceeded their 100-incubator target with 120 incubators developed thus far. Demonstrating the government’s commitment to tackle entrepreneurial misdemeanors with urgency.

 

The nominees and winners of the awards went through a very rigorous selection process across the 14 categories. Winning cash prizes to the value of R100 000 and gaining access to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress Africa. As Brand South Africa, we had the opportunity to collaborate on this auspicious occasion of celebrating our nation builders and entrepreneurs by giving a R 20 000 Vega School voucher to the winner of the Social Entrepreneur Award. Some of the winners on the night included: Mutapa Financial Services Cooperative for best performing rural CBI of the year, Bokang Lehloenya of Wa Rona Food Enterprise for startup business of the year, Degrecia Rapoo of Classic Oriental Consultancy for business development service provider of the year and Nokwanda Mchunu of Pink Print Farm Produce for rural based SMME of the year. The awards also served as a platform to shed light on the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week which is celebrated in over 200 countries with over 10 000 partners and 40 000 activities. Our responsibility as active citizens of South Africa is to continue showing our support to SMMEs and Co-operatives across the country and playing our part in creating economic growth. Let us join hands in making entrepreneurship fashionable.