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'Small business able to give economy a boost'

| Economic factors

With the economy remaining sluggish, the government believes entrepreneurs can help contribute to job creation and economic growth.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said small business owners were the much-needed engine to help boost the country’s stubborn growth through innovation and the search for opportunities that drive economic activity.

 “Put aside big businesses and focus on the small to medium business people who really drive innovation, creativity and doing things with processes and products,” said Ramaphosa.

He was addressing hundreds of entrepreneurs at the opening of the Global Entrepreneurship Week at the Industrial Development Co-operation in Joburg.

Ramaphosa was concerned about the results from the global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report which placed South Africa at No 55 for its entrepreneurial environment.

The report highlighted the country’s lack of sufficient support for small businesses and low levels of entrepreneurial activity and internship opportunities as compared to other Sub-Saharan countries.

Another worry was that many small businesses created by black people closed down over time.

“The report also notes that South African entrepreneurs also forecast their inability to create employment for others besides themselves.

“We need to create businesses that are not just going to be for the employment of the entrepreneur themselves. It must be a business that will create more jobs,” said Ramaphosa.

Although Ramaphosa said the government was aware of the challenges facing small businesses, which include bureaucracy, a lack of education, and social norms, it was working on tackling the problems.

Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu also conceded that many challenges were faced by small businesses and that her department needed to do more.

She was also concerned that big businesses had not opened distribution centres in townships.

She called it an “economic apartheid” that often locked out many young business from accessing assistance from larger businesses.

Ramaphosa called on big business to partner with entrepreneurs to create an inclusive economy and to give young people much-needed work experience.

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