Pretoria: The newly-launched Transnet Enterprise Development Hub will expand business opportunities for smaller enterprises and new business entrants.
Speaking at the launch in Johannesburg, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said the hub will be a “one-stop shop” for entrepreneurs and new players – from registering their businesses to financial support.
Transnet, a state-owned company (SOC), will invest over R2 billion in the hub, with the aim of developing enterprises and to assist them in participating in the economy.
“The hub, the first of its kind in the country with an integrated approach, will be a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs and potential suppliers to Transnet.
“Services on offer will include business development, business registration, procurement advisory services, tax registration and compliance, financial support and guidance on black economic empowerment requirements, among others.
“The plan is to roll out the concept across the country. R60 million has been set aside for this and it might increase in the months and years to come,” Gigaba said.
The launch of the hub comes over a year after Transnet – which is the custodian of rail, ports and pipelines – announced its intention to spend R300 billion through its Market Demand Strategy (MDS) on capital projects over a seven-year period in projects it said would to create 588 000 jobs.
More hubs planned for other regions
Gigaba said the launch of this hub was a concept that would pave way for more hubs to be opened at other parts of the country.
“R200 million will be for other enterprise development initiatives such as business incubation, financial and non-financial support focused on providing an enabling environment for small business.
“R200 million will be invested annually over the MDS period, increasing as the Transnet profit itself increases,” he said.
Gigaba said the hub will primarily target potential suppliers to Transnet and added that up-and-coming entrepreneurs would also get advice on a broad range of opportunities, including teaching them how to tender for Transnet business.
Small business SA’s lifeblood
On Tuesday, Gigaba said small businesses were the lifeblood of the economy and that 12 million South Africans relied on small businesses to get by.
“The aim of this intervention is to ensure that we increase the participation of small businesses in the mainstream economy, as they have been identified as critical to unlocking economic growth as well as the pursuit of inclusive growth.
“Small businesses in South Africa employ between 60% and 70% of the employable population. I therefore believe that it is our responsibility as government to harness this opportunity,” he said.
Gigaba said the hub will operate five days a week and was created in partnership with the South African Revenue Service (SARS), Gauteng Enterprise Propeller, BEE Verification Agency, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Small Enterprise Development Agency and the Department of Trade and Industry’s Companies Intellectual Property Commission.
“Transnet provides the bulk of the funding, while the partners provide advice and expertise on their respective areas.
“The partnership is expected to cultivate strategic relationships between Transnet, provincial and national economic development institutions and provide small businesses access to financial and non-financial support.
“It is our firm belief that the hub will provide meaningful contribution in supporting and promoting viable and sustainable SMMEs that will have a direct impact in the economy through job creation,” Gigaba said.