This is according to Gugu Mjadu, executive general manager: marketing at Business Partners (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that entrepreneurs are critical to the development and well-being of any community, and stronger partnerships should be forged between local government and business communities if South Africa is to improve economic growth, create employment and effect real change in the various municipalities.
“For many newly elected mayors their political parties listed improving employment opportunities at local government level on their campaign agendas. As one in four South Africans don’t have jobs, with the latest unemployment rate recorded at 26.6%, this isn’t surprising. It is however now time to work on delivering on the promises made,” says Mjadu.
The South African GEM 2015/16 report recently revealed that government policy is one of the main factors constraining entrepreneurial activity in the country. “Although the mayors cannot change national policy when it comes to stimulating entrepreneurship, there are opportunities for them to improve the implementation of some of the policies at local level, for instance the speed at which various operating licenses for small businesses are approved. They can also implement measures to partner with and utilise local SMEs operating within surrounding communities.
“We hope local governments will prioritise and where possible, improve local business conditions by removing unnecessary red tape and compliance structures that are stifling local businesses. Only once we achieve this at a local community level, can the national SME sector start to truly thrive in South Africa.”
“Municipalities need to explore the creation of one stop shops where entrepreneurs can receive support, access municipal services such as applying for relevant licenses. Where municipalities have utilised the services of SMEs, they should ensure that those businesses are paid promptly and in full.”
“SMEs can play an indispensable role in promoting economic growth, increasing employment opportunities and promoting innovation at a local government level. Now, following the recent elections is the ideal opportunity to build strong partnerships between local government and SMEs, to not only support existing entrepreneurs, but also to create South Africa’s next generation of entrepreneurs,” concludes Mjadu