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Forming co-operatives may boost your business Print E-mail
05 June 2017

A mere business idea - not money - is enough to turn one into a successful businessperson.

These are the sentiments of Mohapi Molaoa, Director of Business Opportunities in the Gauteng Department of Economic Development Department.

Molaoa was speaking during a co-operatives and small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) information-sharing session at the Metro Centre in Braamfontein on Friday, 2 June.

The workshop was organised jointly by the provincial government and the City of Joburg's Department of Economic Development, which is at the forefront of a multifaceted drive to increase the Johannesburg economy by at least 5% and reduce unemployment by 6%.

Molaoa said some businesses required start-up capital, while others did not require even a single cent to take off.

"Most of our budding and aspiring businesspeople come to our offices only to ask for money to set up businesses. That is not the way to go. We are not a bank. We can help you in many ways but not with money," he said.

Molaoa said when people failed to get funding they gave up. He advised such people not to throw in the towel. "Some business ideas just need to be marketed properly. Once that is done, they automatically attract investors and customers. Our business is that of advising budding businesspeople. We mentor them. We advise them on what steps to take to succeed. We teach them how to market their ideas and businesses. We direct them to the right places and people to go to for further assistance," he explained.

He added that budding entrepreneurs with similar business ideas should form co-operatives and work together. "Most of the township shops owned by foreign nationals survive by working along similar lines as co-operatives. They club together and put their resources in one basket. They then go on wholesale purchases. In that way they are able to negotiate reduced prices. They then share the stock. The key here is working together," said Molaoa.

"If you decide to go into agriculture, organise yourselves as a group and negotiate as one voice. In that way, you establish a sustainable business relationship with clients and sustainable jobs are created," he added.

Sylvia Chuene of the South African National Apex Co-operatives Organisation (SANACO) described a co-operative as an autonomous association of people united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.
"It is a membership-based business organisation that must generate income for its sustainability as well as its members," Chuene said.

She noted that SANACO represented all co-operatives and was registered in terms of the Co-operatives Act, and a member of SADC (Southern African Development Community) and Nedlac (National Economic Development Labour Council).

Chuene said the aims of SANACO were to facilitate and contribute to the development of co-operatives and the consolidation of a progressive, strong, vibrant and sustainable environment through partnerships and other means that could assist in the development of co-operatives.

"We advise co-operatives inside the country to associate themselves with us as we are a vehicle through which they can succeed," she said.

Molaoa said a co-operatives forum summit would be held next month, coinciding with the International Co-operatives Day on 2 July. It is expected to be addressed by City of Joburg's Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development, Cllr Sharon Peetz.

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