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26 March 2024 Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality once again empowers Small and Medium Enterprises with Equipment and Support

Media Release:  Garden Route District Municipality once again empowers Small and Medium Enterprises with Equipment and Support

26 March 2024

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Council has again supported Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) with a significant allocation of R600,000 in the 2023/2024 budget. This funding is geared towards interventions and needs of SMEs within the region.

During a formal handover ceremony held yesterday, 25 SMEs meeting the specified criteria were provided with equipment in order to grow their businesses.

The selection process for beneficiaries began with widespread outreach efforts, including advertisements in local newspapers and rural areas within the Garden Route. A total of 83 businesses responded to the call for proposals. Facilitated by the SEDA, the vetting, screening, and verification process ensured fairness and transparency. The Adjudication Committee, comprising Local Economic Development (LED) Managers, the Department of Agriculture, the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership  (WCEDP), and the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT, carefully reviewed pitches from businesses and made recommendations.

During the ceremony, Alderlady Rosina Ruiters, Portfolio Chairperson of the Planning and Economic Development Department, welcomed attendees and highlighted the program’s origins. Dr. Keith du Plessis, CEO of Casidra, expressed appreciation for the SME program, acknowledging its vital role in supporting small businesses, which are recognised as the backbone of many economies worldwide. “I want to take my hat-off to the GRDM for recognising the plea of the struggling SME’s, what these small businesses are facing, and what our programme assists with,” Du Plessis said.

Program Director and Acting Manager of District Economic Development and Tourism Unit, Richard Dyantyi, emphasised the program’s focus on reaching rural businesses and collaboration with SEDA to provide ongoing support and assistance in marketing.

The Western Cape Provincial Manager of SEDA, Alex Qunta, delivered an inspiring message to SME owners, urging them to prioritise working on their businesses for long-term success. “You have to work on your business first, before it can work for you.  As entrepreneurs and business owners, we always want the business to work for us.

GRDM Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen reiterated the municipality’s dedication to changing lives through initiatives like these, despite budget constraints. “Every year during this gathering I say the same things, but the fact of the matter is, facts don’t change, the truth doesn’t change, circumstances might change from time to time.” He elaborated on the District Municipality Council’s proactive decisions made five years ago to positively impact the lives of people in the district.

Alderman Booysen further acknowledged the GRDM’s commitment to prioritising initiatives like supporting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), even if it meant reallocating funds from other projects. He stressed that a project like this, despite not being part of the GRDM’s core functions, is essential for the growth and prosperity of the community.

Dyantyi shared the success story of 68 previously benefited SMEs, all of which remain operational, highlighting the program’s impact and sustainability.

GRDM Acting Municipal Manager, Lusanda Menze, expressed gratitude to all stakeholders for their support and contributions in all the different forms, to the success of the SME Program.  He said that GRDM remains committed to empowering SMEs and driving economic growth and prosperity across the region.

Below are photos of the beneficiaries with Ald. Memory Booysen (GRDM Executive Mayor), Ald. Rosina Ruiters (Portfolio Chairperson: Economic Development and Planning), Lusanda Menze (GRDM Acting Municipal Manager), Dr. Keith du Plessis (CEO: Casidra), and Alex Qunta (WC Manager: SEDA).