There is consensus among policy makers, economists and business experts that Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) are drivers of economic growth and development. A healthy SMME sector contributes prominently to the economy through creating more employment opportunities, generating higher production volumes, increasing exports and introducing innovation and entrepreneurship skills.
In light of the above, the Research and Development Unit within the Policy, Research and Innovation Programme of the Department of Economic Development and Tourism hosted an Economic Research Day at the Kalahari Lodge in Kimberley on Friday, 14 October 2016, under the theme: ``MAKING SMMEs WORK’’,
The main purpose of the day was to build sound and sustainable relations with relevant stakeholders by:
- Bringing together SMME support agencies, government, private sector and other institutions that have interest in the SMME sector.
- Highlight the role that SMMEs play in economic development.
- Share knowledge, research and best practices in SMME development.
Stakeholders that participated in the programme and provided valuable input to the meeting included: the Department of Trade & Industry, the Department of Small Business Development as well as representatives from Petra Diamonds and Anglo American. These stakeholders focused their presentations on initiatives to support SMME’s and the role of mines in supporting SMME development. The programme also included a demonstration, by the Knowledge Management and Innovation Unit of DEDaT, on innovation and technology for small business. DEDaT invested in a Laptop Trolley for ICT business skills training. The demonstration showed SMME’s can use the device to improve their entrepreneurial skills, sustain and grow their business and using technology in the everyday running of their businesses instead of doing things manually.
A major challenge that was highlighted during the programme is the fact that so much is being done by so many stakeholders in terms of growth and development of SMME’s but that there is a serious lack of integration and synergy among stakeholder to make a significant impact.
Mrs. L. Wyngaard, Executive Manager for the Economic Cluster Secretariat, in her closing remarks, emphasized the need for role clarification and synergy among all stakeholders so that SMME’s in the Northern Cape can flourish and so play an important role in the growth of our economy.