Payment hotline helps small businesses

4 November 2010

A hotline for recovering payment for work done for the government is helping smaller enterprises improve their cash flow, says the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), detailing further plans for promoting small business and co-operatives in South Africa.

Briefing journalists on the department’s annual report in Cape Town on Monday, Director-General Tshediso Matona said that payments of about R200-million had so far been facilitated through the Small Enterprise Development Agency’s SMME Payment Hotline since it was launched in September 2009.

One of the biggest problems small businesses around the world was being paid on time, Matona said.

The DTI will also be launching an information toolkit on the various forms of state support and finance available to entrepreneurs in South Africa, as well as a national directory on support programmes available to business owners.

This was in light of a recent Finscope study indicating that as many as one in six South African adults was a small business owner, that half of these had started their businesses in response to unemployment, and that most had managed without assistance from either the state or the banks.

According to FinScope SA’s Small Business Survey for 2010, awareness of support for small businesses was extremely low in the country, with 74 percent of owners unable to name any organisation that gave help and advice to small businesses, and 94 percent claiming never to have used any support.

Promoting, developing co-operatives

Matona said the amended Co-operatives Bill was now before the Cabinet for approval.

In addition, the DTI had developed a co-operatives development strategy that sought to establish support programmes and build institutional capacity for the development of the co-operatives sector in South Africa.

A co-operative is a business organisation that is owned and operated by a group of individuals who use its products or services for their mutual benefit.

Matona said that promoting and developing co-operatives would help to include South Africans living in marginalised areas in “meaningful economic activity”.

Source: BuaNews