Finland boosts SA small business

26 January 2006

The governments of Finland and South Africa have each committed €6-million (R44.5-million) to a four-year programme to develop small business in SA.

The money will go to the SA government’s Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), with Finnish small enterprises expert Liisa Tervo working as a special advisor to Seda CEO Wawa Damane for two years.

“The aim is to set up efficient service delivery systems for SMMEs in all provinces and to also reach smaller towns as well as localities,” Tervo said.

The programme is to be implemented at the agency’s strategic, management and operational levels.

“This will include building the capacity of management and other staff, and helping Seda develop systems of service delivery,” she said.

Damane said the agency had made progress since its launch in December 2004, with an analysis of the its internal capacity, structure and strategy carried out during the course of 2005.

Seda opened its first provincial office and two branches in North West province in August 2005, with support and funding from the provincial government.

“To us it’s not only about setting up these offices, it’s about them responding to the needs of the people in line with their provincial growth and development strategies,” Damane said.

“We’re very conscious about the needs of the entrepreneur. We want to streamline opportunities and make sure that people in the province are aware of them.”

The North West government, she said, had invited the agency to convert three of its enterprise advisory offices into Seda service centres.

“So by the end of this year we’ll have five centres in that province.”

Seda is also set to open provincial offices in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape, Free State and the Eastern Cape before the end of the current financial year. Smaller branches will also be established to function as the agency’s main service delivery points.

Source: BuaNews