The Business Partners Manufacturing Fund, a dedicated fund which aims to assist SMEs that operate within the manufacturing sector, was launched with the objective to stimulate the manufacturing sector, an industry that has the potential to create much needed jobs in South Africa. According to Nazeem Martin, MD of Business Partners Limited, a stimulated manufacturing sector will have a spin off effect on businesses operating within other sectors such as the service industry, and will result in a positive boost for the economy.
Martin explains that a healthy manufacturing sector is an enabler of sustained economic development and will contribute substantially towards healthy GDP growth. “In a developing country a healthy manufacturing sector is vital for ensuring economic prosperity, job creation and making a positive and considerable contribution towards other sectors that will ensure economic growth.”
He says that during the period between 2000 and 2013 the manufacturing sector’s contribution towards South Africa’s GDP shrank from 19% to 15.2%. “This drop should be considered a serious concern in an economy where foreign exchange via exports is vital, and the beneficiation of the country’s rich natural resources could positively contribute towards its growth.”
According to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, stimulation of the manufacturing sector is vital for job creation, and that there should therefore be a drive away from consumption-driven and import-intensive products.
Martin says that currently, the manufacturing sector employs 1.7 million people, and has the potential to grow substantially. “Although the larger manufacturers are the dominant players within the sector, SMEs can play an important and deserved role. SMEs are known for playing a support role to large businesses, but the potential exists to supply the market both locally and internationally with high quality products at competitive prices.
“Business Partners has been financing SMEs for 33 years, and has now identified an even greater need to support those who are involved in manufacturing. A strong manufacturing sector will have a spin off effect on other industries and will add value to the country – just what our struggling economy needs. The creation of new jobs by SMEs playing in the industry should also not be underestimated.”
He explains that the Business Partners Manufacturing Fund will not only offer financial assistance, but will also provide the support and mentorship that Business Partners currently offers. “The mentoring and counselling services are aimed at reducing the risks associated with the industry, and as part of this industry information will be shared, forums will be formed and topical matters will be circulated via a web-based library.
“Our offering is based on wanting SMEs to flourish and we have been instrumental in growing small family businesses into market leaders,” concludes Martin.
The funding offered starts at R500 000 and the maximum amount offered over a five year period, is R25 million