Forty enterprises selected in growth programme

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THE small business ministry has identified 40 enterprises which it will help nurture as part of a 10-year growth acceleration programme, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said on Tuesday.

The 40 were picked from a shortlist of 200 enterprises picked from 1,800 entrants by accounting firms EY and KPMG, with the programme itself a joint venture between the department and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda).

In order to be eligible for selection companies must be more than two years old, employ more than two people and have an annual turnover in the range of R1m-R30m.

Gazelles, as the companies are known internationally, are business that grow rapidly from a small base due to entrepreneurial drive and from market advantage.

Internationally, gazelles are broadly defined as companies that grow at an annual growth rate of 20% or more for four years.

Past financial performance was not a key metric in the selection but the business potential of the owners as well as market advantage were the key attributes picked.

The business would be eligible for extensive support including exposure to the supply chain systems of state owned enterprises.

The companies, the first of the 10-year programme running until 2025, will be given high level networking, access to business specialists, as well as assistance in securing funding, among other important aspects of business.

Seda chairman Ivor Zwane said on Tuesday the organisation expected the gazelles to benefit from the various forms of small business support provided by his agency.

“We are all very aware of the contributions that we are expected from … SMMEs to bridge the economic gap between races in our country,” he said.

Black Business Council CEO Mohale Ralebitso said on Tuesday large South African companies should open their supply chains to encourage competition.

“It is a supreme irritation to argue with some of our giant (corporates) because at one time they were small and somewhere along the line they got a leg up,” Ralebitso said

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