City and Standard Bank unveil R250-m fund to aid SMMEs
City and Standard Bank unveil R250-m fund to aid SMMEs

In an unprecedented move, Standard Bank has, through its partnership with the City of Johannesburg, set aside R250-million to strengthen the hand of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) that have existing contracts with the City.

Councillor Ruby Mathang, Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Economic Development, says the multimillion-rand fund was created to “encourage and reward big thinking” among the City’s existing service providers and suppliers in the SMME sector.

MMC Mathang says through the fund the City aims to give SMMEs all the support they need to prosper and to help create much-needed jobs.

“This partnership with Standard Bank is what was needed to boost SMMEs in Johannesburg,” says MMC Mathang.

Entrepreneurs who already have a contract with the City and require funding under this scheme must submit the following with their applications:

  • A legally binding supplier contract with the City;
  • A copy of the contract with viable cash flow;
  • A business profile that includes the owner’s curriculum vitae;
  • Three-year financial statements and latest management accounts;
  • Personal balance sheet and the owner’s income statement;
  • Proof of business address;
  • Company registration documents; and
  • A tax clearance certificate/VAT registration form.

Entrepreneurs who require support to apply for funding will be assisted through the City’s network of SME Hubs.

On the SME Hubs, Mr Ravi Naidoo, Executive Director of Economic Development says they were established to “smooth the path to entrepreneurship”.

The hubs have identified challenges facing small business owners in order to assist them. These include low business skills, the lack of access to capital and limited market opportunities.  As a result, the hubs have been holding workshops in all the City’s regions to give small businesspeople advice on how to run successful enterprises.

“We’re confident that this project will produce enterprises that the City can work with in the future,” says Naidoo.

The hubs’ key objective is to promote entrepreneurial activity, support the middle and working classes and recognise marginalised economic activities by:

  • Identifying the key enablers and success factors for entrepreneurial growth, in particular SMME and co-operatives development, and implementing targeted programmes to achieve this; and
  • Identifying both governance frameworks and interventions to improve and accelerate the development of entrepreneurs.

In the period between 1 October 2015 and 31 December 2015, a total of 1 669 SMMEs were supported through the City’s hubs and strategic partnerships with entrepreneur networks, exceeding the quarter’s target by almost 70%. In the first two quarters of the 2015-2016 financial year, the City supported 3 128 SMMEs through its five hubs – over 150% above the annual target of 2 000.

“We’re busy planning an outreach programme through which officials will go and tell people about the SME Hubs and the services offered,” says Naidoo.

Naidoo says the hub wants to help small business owners reach their full potential.

“The City wants to assist in making small businesspeople’s dreams come true. The SME Hubs is there to find and nurture such enterprises,” says Naidoo.