Chairperson, a major challenge for small businesses is access to business support services - both financial and nonfinancial. Since my appointment, the Department for Small Business Development has introduced or is finalising measures to improve such access for all the small businesses but they will be particularly assisting in supporting and promoting small businesses in rural and township communities.
We are introducing a common application template because the application for support had often been difficult due to the multiplicity of application forms that small businesses had had to complete, which are not even portable or reusable across various SMMME-funding agencies.
The department, together with Small Enterprise Development Agency, Seda, Small Enterprise Finance Agency, Sefa, and National Empowerment Fund, NEF and the Industrial Development Corporation, IDC, have completed a common application template form that SMMEs
will use to apply for both funding across all the Development Finance Institutions, DFIs, commencing with Seda, Sefa and NEF.
I will launch this template on Thursday, on 14 November 2019. The template will say, Small Businesses Time and Money, so that they don't have to contract consultants to assist them with application forms. But, most importantly, if their funding requirements are not covered by one agency - Sefa - the same form can be transferred to the NEF for funding.
The second one is that we are addressing the issue of prompt payment for SMMEs. I had earlier mentioned mechanisms that we are employing to make sure that we pay SMMEs on time. The President, during his state of the nation address mentioned that we are establishing the township entrepreneurship fund.
In a few weeks, I will propose to Cabinet the details of the township entrepreneurship fund whose establishment will assist to stimulate township economies and create dynamic markets in higher opportunity sectors for small businesses. The focus of the fund is premised on the findings of the National Planning Commission - in their 2017 study of township economies, which concluded that
enterprise development is affected by numerous factors, both within and outside the enterprise.
We want to focus on the matter level of the factors, which is addressing the capability of all actors to create favourable conditions for industrial dynamism. The multiplicity of interventions have focused on factors that deals with access to funding, access to enterprise development but they have not dealt with how to create a dynamic entrepreneurship environment in townships and rural areas.
We are experiencing slight delays in announcing the details of the funding due to the current constraints on the fiscus that are confronting the National Treasury: In terms of what are the funding priorities that must be there; and how do we juggle the reprioritisation thereof. Thank you.