Johannesburg – The Steve Tshwete Municipality SMMEs have received a major shot in the arm after the municipality and the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) jointly set aside R50 million towards the Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) to benefit Black-owned and managed SMMEs located in the Mpumalanga-based municipality.
NEF manages funds through partnerships with various entities across the public and private sectors.
NEF Divisional Executive for Strategy, Planning and Significant Investments Setlakalane Molepo, said the NEF will establish, develop, implement and administer the fund.
He added that the fund would help empower and extend a lifeline to local small business owners.
“The fund will assist the municipality to accelerate Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment within the municipality. It has also supported an excess of R11.13 billion for black entrepreneurs countrywide, and more than 103 299 jobs,” said Molepo.
Municipal Manager Advocate Bheki Khenisa said the initiative would stimulate economic recovery following the effects of the Covid19 pandemic.
Khenisa said the initiative is aimed at increasing the number of entrepreneurs from underprivileged communities, so that they can participate in the mainstream economy.
“We aim at boasting township industrialisation, stimulating and diversifying economic growth and industries. This will improvement in business opportunities and close economic gaps that were generated by, amongst others, the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He said that through such initiatives the vision is to become the best city in South Africa in service delivery, innovation, good governance and inclusive growth.
Khenisa added that the partnership will promote and foster resolutions taken by the municipality to ensure economic growth and inclusivity in the SMME sector.
“The fund is open to all SMMEs in all sectors within the municipality and those those who qualify to apply for the fund to contact the municipality for further information,” he said.
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