30 March 2015
Small businesses are key to unlocking economic opportunities and achieving inclusive growth, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said last week at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Milan, Italy.
South Africa’s high rate of unemployment, poverty and extreme inequality called for bold and far-sighted interventions, she said.
“As government, we remain open and receptive to new policy ideas that will help accelerate the formation of new businesses and sustainability of existing ones.”
Zulu said the government’s policy interventions aimed to ensure that small enterprises grew into thriving businesses: “They cannot remain small forever”.
She said the government would focus on providing financial and non-financial support to small businesses as it wanted to reduce obstacles to doing business wherever possible.
“There is general recognition that Africa is the next growth pole of the world. It is up to us Africans to seize the moment and ensure that Africa becomes an unprecedented economic success,” Zulu said.
The Global Entrepreneurship Congress provides opportunities for entrepreneurs to explore business networking opportunities and to learn and interact with their peers across the globe. Around 4 000 delegates from 150 countries attend the gathering.
“We see the GEC as a powerful platform to learn what other successful nations are doing to promote and sustain enterprise development,” said Zulu.
South Africa will be the first African country to host the GEC in 2017. The bid was awarded to Johannesburg as part of the opening ceremony at GEC 2015 in Milan.
Accepting the award on behalf of Johannesburg, Zulu said: “GEC 2017 will ensure that small business development remains firmly on the national agenda and the radar screen of all stakeholders.”