Minister Encourages Entrepreneurs Make Use of Enterprise Development Fund
Nine years ago Luvuyo Rani, a former teacher at a Khayelitsha school, started selling refurbished computers from the boot of his car.
Today the businessman runs Silulo Ulutho Technologies, an information technology company which has 18 branches in the Western Cape and eight in the Eastern Cape, providing jobs to 115 people.
Silulo is one of the several businesses based around the Western Cape which have received assistance from the Enterprise Development Fund, a programme of the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism.
Through it, businesses receive funding to purchase goods and services that will increase their competitiveness, productivity and ability to create jobs.
Applications for this current year have already been received and are being assessed. Rani's story was one of the successes of the fund which was highlighted by Alan Winde, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, during a site visit to Silulo Ulutho Technologies on 1 October 2013.
Other businesses assisted by the fund, including Ottery-based security firm, Thorne Trust Barrier and Mukoni Software, located in Bellville, also attended.
Thorne Trust Barriers was granted assistance from the Enterprise Development Fund to buy an electrical high-power drill and a second set of tools. Since they have had the new goods, they have been able to double the number of customers they service.
Mukoni Software used their funding to install faster internet systems, which were required to liaise with international clients.
Minster Winde provided an update on the Western Cape Government's support programmes to grow entrepreneurship.
In the 2012/13 financial year, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism's Enterprise Development Unit facilitated and supported 3 696 jobs.
This was achieved through key projects, including the Partnership Network, the Supplier Development Programme and the Enterprise Development Fund. Rani explained how the fund has helped him to grow his businesses.
"Thanks to the Enterprise Development Fund's assistance we could open another centre in Blue Downs, a great benefit for the area. This centre employs six people, most living nearby in Mfuleni. The fund has given me the opportunity to grow my business and has also given my new employees the opportunity to improve their lives by having a steady job," said Rani.
Minister Winde said Rani was an example of how entrepreneurs are key job creators in the province.
"Luvuyo saw the gap, had the idea and took the risk. He is offering the residents of our province a much-needed service and has become a valuable employer. All of the entrepreneurs here today had the drive to bring their ideas to life and are making a valuable contribution to our economy.
"These stories really speak to how important small businesses are as economic drivers. As government, it is our goal to make sure these entrepreneurs receive the support they need to create more jobs. By having jobs, people of the Western Cape can escape poverty and live better lives," said Minister Winde.
The Enterprise Development Fund was piloted in the 2010/11 financial year and has thus far distributed R3.5 million worth of grant funding to small and medium businesses.
Qualifying businesses must be based in the Western Cape, be operating for a minimum of 12 months, be in possession of a valid tax clearance certificate and must be majority black-owned.