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Sefa Lends R737m to Small Businesses

More than 18 000 jobs to be created in the SME sector.

Alison Job

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The Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa) plans to disburse over R737 million to more than 15 000 small firms – most of these micro enterprises – by the end of the 2013/14 financial year.

Sefa chief executive Thakani Makhuvha said the targeted funding will help create over 18 000 jobs.

Sefa’s five-year plan

In five years, the agency aims to have more than doubled lending and the number of business owners financed – with disbursements reaching almost R1.6 billion to over 34 000 small firms.

Sefa lends between R500 and R5 million to small, micro and medium enterprises in one of three ways:

  • Directly to business owners
  • Via retail finance intermediaries
  • Via banks through its using credit guarantee scheme.

Makhuvha said the agency will meet with banks to hold a roundtable discussion on what the challenges are to expanding the scheme. Retail finance intermediaries are also expected to attend the meeting.

Sefa also aims to complete the development of its direct lending product – which is currently still being piloted at a number of sites around the country – by the end of the year.

Greater access to finance

Sefa aims to:

  • Investigate the possibility of partnering with retail chain stores as well as government feeding schemes, as a way to expand its reach further into rural areas.
  • Improve a pre-loan support programme in partnership with the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) and improve the uptake of its poorly performing credit guarantee scheme by July.
  • Partner with more provincial development finance agencies to add to the current partnership with the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller.
  • Expand the pilot project it has with the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) in a programme that trains young graduates.
  • Roll out nine branches or satellite offices per year, which would be co-located within Seda or IDC branch offices, to add to the 11 regional offices the agency already has.

Makhuvha said the cost of Sefa lending finance to business owners is also expected to fall – from 44c for every rand disbursed in 2013/14 to 25c for every year lent out in 2017/18.

Sefa will run awareness road shows with financial intermediaries – starting with Alexandra and Sandton in Gauteng this month and running to February next year with two road shows to be held in North West.

Alison Job holds a BA English, Communications and has extensive experience in writing that spans news broadcasting, public relations and corporate and consumer publishing. Find her at Google+.

Entrepreneur Today

5 Ways SMMEs Can Best Use An Incubation Centre

Here are some tips on how entrepreneurs can make the most of these incubation centres.

Entrepreneur

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Incubation centres play a meaningful role – not only in South Africa but around the world – as they groom SMMEs and give them access to opportunities that will help them survive in a competitive marketplace. These centres help entrepreneurs modernise their businesses with world-class technology, while providing insights that can help turn ideas into products. Incubation centres offer infrastructure and support, knowledge-sharing and a unique environment that helps strengthen their businesses.

Earlier this month, Cisco South Africa launched its R10 million Edge Incubation Centre in Pretoria where 30 SMMEs per year will have the opportunity to make use of the platform and speed up their entry to market. The centre gives SMMEs access to complete business facilities including workspaces, video conferencing and collaboration platforms, boardroom and training facilities, and access to global Cisco experts who can help them develop business ideas in a digital world.

Here are some tips on how entrepreneurs can make the most of these incubation centres:

1. Collaboration

Gain insights from global experts using the latest Webex technology and collaborate with other SMMEs. Utilise the meeting spaces to drive commercial sales initiatives with the help of business support facilities.

2. Resources & Equipment

Make use of laboratories and tools like cloud-based facilities, smart interactive whiteboards for content sharing, video conferencing, and meeting rooms. Utilise the high-tech customer demo centre as a practice platform.

Related: The Definitive List Of South African Business Incubators For Start-Ups

3. Support

Take advantage of the enablement programmes as well as the ongoing training and development. Knowledge transfer will always help your business. Utilise the technical support and business insights to grow your business and make it competitive in the digital economy.

4. Connectivity

This is your main tool in a digital marketplace. Make use of the high-speed broadband facilities and develop your digital skills because you will need it.

5. Sales

Don’t forget to utilise the pre-sales support as this may give you the edge in the marketplace. Gain insights and experience and use it to your advantage.

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Entrepreneur Today

9 In 10 Workers Want A Festive Gift From Their Employer To Make Them Feel Valued

29% Would like to receive vouchers from their company.

Entrepreneur

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As the festive season approaches, digital print company instantprint have revealed what managers can be doing to show staff they are appreciated.

Over 9 in 10 workers (94%) want a gift from their employers to make them feel valued, appreciated and happy this Christmas.

The research, which surveyed 1,500 UK office workers, also revealed the most in demand gifts that employees would like to receive from their employers:

  • 29% would like a gift voucher
  • 8% would like an early finish
  • One in five (20%) would like a free bar at the company Christmas party
  • One in ten (10.3%) would like a physical gift
  • 7% would like a charitable donation to be made in their name.

Related: Why Innovative Employee Benefits Are Your Competitive Advantage

Different sections of the workforce had varying demands. IT professionals would prefer an early finish this festive period, with 35% in the IT department choosing this as their ideal Christmas gift.

Senior management seem to have a more selfless approach to the gifts they would like to receive. One in ten (11%) said they would like a charitable donation to be made in their name, compared to the average demand for this present of just 7%.

There was some difference between men and women too. Women are the ones really pressing for gift vouchers, with 33% saying they are the ideal present, compared to just 23% of men. Male employees seem to prefer a free bar, with 22% choosing this, compared to just 18% of women.

James Kinsella, CEO and Co-founder of instantprint, said about the research:

“Most organisation take part in the festive period, with decorations, Christmas parties and office Secret Santas.

“But this research highlights how important a small show of gratitude can be for your workforce. Something as simple as an early finish, free bar at a party or a Christmas gift voucher can make employees feel valued and appreciated. This in turn can help boost employee morale, loyalty and productivity in the workplace.”

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Entrepreneur Today

South African Students To Battle In Universities Business Challenge To Win Up To R50 000

Students will compete in a simulation that encourages business skills.

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Cognity Advisory’s Universities Business Challenge (UBC), sponsored by General Electric (GE), launched in July this year, has seen 500 students from 13 different universities across South Africa participate in a business simulation competition, that’s designed to develop their entrepreneurship skills. The challenge is now down to just 10 teams from five different universities (approximately 50 students), who will travel to Johannesburg to compete in the two-day final event on the 5 and 6th December 2018.

The ten teams competing in the final includes three teams from the North West University, two from Mangosuthu University of Technology, two from the Vaal University of Technology, two from the University of Limpopo and one from The University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN). These teams will be competing for the chance to win up to R50,000.

Related: Call For Applications: Young Entrepreneurs Global Exposure Trips

The aim of the UBC, now in its second year in South Africa and 20th year globally, is to tackle South Africa’s high level of youth unemployment. Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) announced that South Africa’s official unemployment rate increased by 0.3 of a percentage point to 27.5% in the third quarter of 2018.

The competition simulates a business environment, with students given a problem to solve. The simulation is designed to foster skills such as analytical thinking, problem solving, commercial awareness and team-working. The challenge is designed to empower young people and equip them with the necessary skills to succeed in business.

Tope Toogun, development advisor and CEO of Cognity Advisory says, “Students are very prepared in terms of theory when they leave university, but not the practical skills they need to start and run a business. Seeing as SMEs make up 90 percent of formal businesses it’s really important that these students know how to build a business on their own or at the very least, in small teams.”

Toogun explains how the simulation encourages business skills, “The students competing in the challenge learn all about managing people, customer service, working in teams and how to create a start up without even realising they are being exposed to all these skills. These are the skills that will separate the members in the final. Students must work as a team and make instinctive decisions.”

Cognity Advisory is engaging students through social media competitions and newsletter updates. These competitions include spot prizes for students who post an image or video and receive the highest engagement on it.

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