JOGEDA empowering SMMEs in the region
On Tuesday, 07 August 2018 the Joe Gqabi Economic Development Agency (JOGEDA) hosted the third SMME Summit in Aliwal North. The aim of the summit was to foster economic growth through increased investment, facilitate dialogue between SMMEs, commercial banks, government departments, business and development finance institutions, corporates, to provide non-financial support and provide investor match-making initiatives to SMMEs in the district as well as to witness the graduation ceremony of the second group of SMMEs from the University of Stellenbosch Small Business Academy (Eastern Cape).
Opening the summit, the Executive Mayor of the Joe Gqabi District Municipality Zibonele Dumzela said it is important that SMMEs are supported to grow the region’s economy. “Radical economic transformation is needed to transform the landscape of the region. We need to intensify Black and SMME participation in the economy. It is key that we must promote the growth and innovation of SMMEs as they are important in job creation and wealth distribution.”
“The private sector and other stakeholders have a responsibility to help government to grow the economy and to sustain small businesses. As a district, we have an established partnership with the University of Stellenbosch Small Business Academy which will assist in equipping small business owners with skills to expand the productive capacity of SMMES and cooperatives,” said Dumzela.
During the summit, 23 participants from all over the district graduated from the University of Stellenbosch Small Business Academy Enterprise Development Programme. The course covered training in general management, finance, marketing, computer skills, business plan development, to personal development, and practical workshops.
Addressing the certification ceremony, the Head of the Small Business Academy Dr Maritjie Theron-Wepener said the partnership between JOGEDA and the academy is making a difference in the lives of small businesses. “The enterprise development programme is helping businesses to grow and be sustainable by providing business expertise to participants. Through the Small Business Academy Growth Initiative, all alumni will be supported through continuous mentoring.”
In recognizing the participants who had performed well during the eight month programme, the following awards were given to the top three participants:
- Most improved student: Nthabiseng Booi
- Best business plan: Laziswa Manzi
- Top student: Lorraine Makgoantle
Applications for the 2019 Enterprise Development Programme are now open and application forms can be obtained from LED Units in local municipalities, JOGEDA office or by emailing email@example.com