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31 May 2022 Media Release: 32 Small Businesses benefitted from the Garden Route District Municipality’s SMME Support and Development Programme

Media Release: 32 Small Businesses benefitted from the Garden Route District Municipality’s SMME Support and Development Programme
For immediate release
31 May 2022

As small businesses are the backbone of the economy, the government has introduced various forms of relief to help Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A good example of this is when the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Council resolved, four years ago ‘to put their money where their mouths are’ by supporting and investing tangibly in SMME’s of the Garden Route. With a mentorship process funded by the GRDM, specific business needs were identified through one-on-one business assessments.

This resulted in the GRDM Economic Development and Tourism Departments SMME Support and Development Programme being introduced during the 2019/20 financial year (1 July 2019 – 30 June 2020). This Programme was initiated and is coordinated by the GRDM Economic Development and Tourism Department. Other stakeholders, such as the Department of Agriculture (DoA); Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT); Small Enterprises Development Agency (Seda), the Economic Development Partnership (EDP) and local municipalities in the district played a critical role in driving this.

In the past year, the GRDM Council allocated R682 000.00 from its budget to assist SMMEs in the district to grow their businesses. Small businesses were invited to submit proposals as part of the selection process. An advertisement was placed in the regional newspapers, social media and the municipal website.

An Adjudication Committee, representing various stakeholders, reviewed the all the business proposals received and made recommendations. These recommendations were subsequently approved, which led to a formal handover ceremony.
Thirty-two (32) SMMEs from across the Garden Route received much-needed equipment from the GRDM stakeholder partnership on Thursday, 26 May 2022. The GRDM Deputy Executive Mayor, Adv. Gert van Niekerk, members of the GRDM Mayoral Committee, Local Economic Development (LED) managers of the local municipalities in the district, and various stakeholders attended the ceremony.

The program was officially opened by Ald. Iona Kritzinger, GRDM Portfolio Chairperson of Corporate Services. With a special welcome to the thirty-two beneficiaries, she expressed her hopes that the equipment they received would add value to their businesses and help them to thrive.

Ald. Rosina Ruiters, GRDM Portfolio Chairperson of Planning and Economic Development Services, presented a brief overview of the SMME Support and Development Programme. She announced that the GRDM Council has invested R 2.1 million in the programme over the years and has supported 65 small businesses in the process.

The program director of the event and the Acting Executive Manager of the Planning and Economic Development Department, Ms Melanie Wilson, commended the small business owners for their endurance and strength; and encouraged them with a quote from the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” Ms Wilson rendered a special word of acknowledgement and appreciation to the partners involved by saying, “As government we cannot function on our own; we need partnerships to be successful. With this project we’ve realized that in order to change the lives of our people and to make an impact, we need to build partnerships.” Wilson stated. GRDM signed an agreement with Casidra to execute the procurement process of the items on behalf of the District, which was exceptionally well managed.

A message of support for the partnership was delivered by Mr David Nefdt, Acting CEO of Casidra. He explained that Casidra believes that entrepreneurship is the only way to ensure that people have jobs, that there is food on the table, and to address the challenges in our communities.  “There are not enough businesses that can create jobs, so the only way is to start new ones. Casidra wants to be part of this dream of establishing local businesses in the Garden Route District,” he said.

Mr Nefdt gave a brief overview of Casidra’s mandate and function and said that according to his understanding, government needs to do more to foster an environment for entrepreneurs to flourish by making it easier for small businesses to survive. He challenged the small businesses present with the following words, “You need to innovate unity; look at the cracks in your community and see if you can come up with something that can address the needs of people in your community. Let us all create an environment that encourages businesses to grow and be creative and innovative in addressing the needs of all people,” Nefdt concluded.

The keynote address was delivered by Ald. Gert van Niekerk, who explained the various aspects on how the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in business closures, job losses, and declining business profits. Accordingly, the GRDM signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Economic Development & Tourism and SEDA with the objective of supporting SMME development in the Garden Route and thus make a crucial impact.

Van Niekerk explained that by initiating and implementing the SMME Support and Development Programme, the Council believes that the assistance granted to the thirty-two (32) SMMEs will make a significant contribution to the sustainability and expansion of their businesses. “We hope that you will continue to create jobs and that your businesses will grow. We salute you!” Cllr van Niekerk concluded.

Two (2) beneficiary SMME’s, Ms Tabita Williams from Ludify Suppliers and Ms Siphesihle Bobo from Sihle Fitness Academy, gave an overview of their respective businesses and thanked the GRDM and partners for firstly believing in them, and secondly for providing equipment and support to SMME’s in the district.

During the vote of thanks, EPWP Manager for the GRDM, Mr Richard Dyantyi, thanked the GRDM Council for their commitment to small businesses in the district. Dyantyi further thanked Casidra as a ‘driving partner’ as well as the other stakeholders involved and the GRDM Team for their commitment in making the programme a success.

At the end of the formalities, the Project Manager of the Programme, Mr Johannes Jafta, together with the GRDM Mayoral Committee, handed over equipment and material to the thirty-two (32) SMMEs.

Upon receiving the equipment, the SMMEs are required to sign a contract in which they agree not to sell the equipment donated to them. As part of the monitoring and evaluation process, GRDM officials will be required to regularly access the premises of all beneficiaries to view the equipment and assess each business’s growth.