Small Business Funding in North West
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The North West Growth Acceleration Programme (NWGAP) has adopted 121 companies and placed them in an intense incubation programme since its inception three years ago.
Delivering the State of the Province Address (SOPA) on Friday, North West Premier Job Mokgoro said these companies have managed to sustain over 400 jobs in their respective sectors.
The programme forms part of the province’s endeavour to make a significant impact on the growth acceleration of a group of high growth potential small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs).
Mokgoro said a total of 60 SMMEs, with a turnover of between R250 000 and R1 million, have been placed in an intense incubation programme for a period of 12 months, ending in November 2020.
This programme also serves as a feeder to the National Gazelles Programme of the Department of Small Business Development, aimed at improving the uptake of the North West province’s SMMEs.
North West was incorporated after the end of Apartheid in 1994, and includes parts of the former Transvaal Province and Cape Province, as well as most of the former Bantustan of Bophuthatswana. It was the scene of political violence in Khutsong, Merafong City Local Municipality in 2006 and 2007, after cross-province municipalities were abolished and Merafong Municipality was transferred entirely to North West. Merafong has since been transferred to Gauteng province in 2009.
Some of the largest cattle herds in the world are found at Stellaland near Vryburg, which explains why this area is often referred to as the Texas of South Africa. Marico is also cattle country. North West is South Africa’s major producer of white maize.
The Superbowl, in the entertainment centre hosts rock concerts and beauty pageants, world championship boxing events and banquets. Shows like Baletsatsi, with dancers, gymnasts and circus people, take place in the 620 seater Sun City theatre in the Sun City Hotel. Gourmets will delight in exploring the many fine restaurants that offer everything from haute cuisine to hamburgers, while those who prefer burning kilojoules to consuming them can choose from a range of sporting activities.
Mining contributes 23,3% to North West’s economy, and makes up 22,5% of the South African mining industry. It is known as the Platinum Province due to its abundant mineral riches of platinum, chrome and the platinum group metals. It is also home to a strong dimension stone sector, due to the riches of its slate, marble and granite deposits. The Rustenburg and Brits districts produce 94% of the country’s platinum. In addition to granite, marble, fluorspar and diamonds, the province also produces a quarter of South Africa’s gold.
SMMEs drive growth and create employment. In the North West, the agricultural supply chain is seen as one of the best ways of involving rural communities and entrepreneurs in the world of business, and a number of strategies are being implemented by government and private enterprise to make this happen.
A centralised supplier database has been established in the North West and the provincial government wants small businesses to get registered so they can tender for work.
The North West Development Corporation and the provincial Department of Finance have held workshops to inform small business owners about what help is available to them.
There are plans for government to provide surety for stock in warehouses so that tuckshop entrepreneurs can more easily get supplies. This plan is linked to trying to fight hunger and poverty, with the stock available being basic foods. A possible partner in this is the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NAFCOC) because it has a good footprint across many areas. NAFCOC and Transnet have teamed up with the provincial government to help set up 15 community bakeries, most of which are run by women.
Agribusiness and agri-processing are among the three sectors that are targeted by the Masisizane Fund for loan financing. The others are franchising/commercial and supply chain/manufacturing. Over and above loans that are available, some training is offered through a Business Accelerator Programme.
The positioning of the North West province with respect to the rest of the country and the African market makes the region attractive to investors from both a national and continental perspective. Bordering Botswana, the NWP is ideally positioned to access the 14 countries comprising the Southern African Development Community (SADC) via the N4 highway that connects the Walvisbay port in Namibia with the Maputo Port in Mozambique running through the province.
The developing SADC Free Trade Area will provide access to a market of over 250 million consumers, while the combined Free Trade Area with SADC, COMESA & EAC will provide access to a market of over 700 million consumers. With Gauteng province, the commercial and industrial nerve centre of South Africa on the eastern border of the province, the North West provides easy access to this market as well.
The North West is thus large and significant local economy in the South African economic context. The area contributes approximately 5.5% to national Gross Domestic Production (Constant 2010 prices (R 1000)) with mining, agriculture and manufacturing contributing the largest portion of the provincial output, taking into consideration that 65% of the province is rural with a low economic base.