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Entrepreneurs need risk taking skills, says Zulu

| Economic factors

Skills such as innovation and risk taking should not be overlooked as essential ingredients to small, medium and micro- sized enterprises (SMMEs).

That was the message from Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, who opened the Global Entrepreneurship Week in Johannesburg on Monday.

Zulu said her department will place more emphasis on the development of small businesses and cooperatives and facilitating access to finance and market support.

“Business failure is often attributed to the lack of entrepreneurial knowledge and skills such as innovation and risk taking and therefore should not be overlooked as essential ingredients to SMME success,” said Zulu.

Zulu also wants to remove regulatory constraints and tackle laws that inhibit the growth of entrepreneurs.

She said low levels of education and training, as well as poor business skills were contributing factors.

“To address the skills challenge, my department has embarked on a journey to develop entrepreneurs,” she said.

“Together with Technical Vocational Education and Tr aining (TVET) Colleges, we are launching Centres of Entrepreneurship across all our provinces.”

In 2015, the department launched centres in False Bay College (Western Cape) and Gert Sibande College (Mpumalanga) focusing on the hospitality sector, while Centres of Entrepreneurship have been planned for the North West and KwaZulu-Natal.

To meet the National Development Plan target of creating 11 million jobs by 2030, South Africa needed scalable SMMEs, growing at a rate of 20% per annum, said Zulu.

“This means that small businesses will have to contribute roughly 800 000 jobs per year until 2030 according to our calculation,” she said. “In South Africa, SMEs contribute 55% to GDP and are estimated at more than two million in number.”

The Tech Start-Ups in South Africa survey showed that 17% of start-ups in SA had black founders.

This is a significant increase from a national survey undertaken in 2012 where just over 6% of start-up founders were black, said Zulu.

“It is encouraging to observe that the survey results reveal a marked change in the SA start-up landscape, with an increase in black entrepreneurs, more than that recorded by any other start-up survey to date,” she said. “Despite the upward trend in the number of SMMEs registered since 2000, there is growing consensus that South Africa’s business activity rate still lags behind its Brics peers.”

The opening ceremony was a precursor to preparations of the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC), an event expected to attract international delegates from 157 countries.

South Africa will be the first African country ever to host the GEC, which Zulu said “will give the world a taste of our entrepreneurial spirit”.

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