There is a general consensus on the crucial role of small businesses and entrepreneurs in the growth of any economy and the Msunduzi Municipality is no exception to this sentiment. It is for this reason that the municipality is on a major drive to enlist small businesses into a database. Key amongst this initiative’s aims is information dissemination to small businesses targeted to all 39 wards in Msunduzi.
Mr. Simtholile Myeni from the City explained that they are running this programme in order to ensure that small businesses comply with bylaws which is a good start for any business with an intention to trade with the City. “Regardless of the nature of business you are in, ours is to provide an enabling environment for our local businesses to thrive. This includes making available the list of entities who can assist them in growing their businesses,” said Myeni.
Amongst the stakeholders who partnered with the Municipality in this initiative include there is Ithala Development Corporation, Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), Standard Bank and the Department of Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Ãffairs. Recently, the initiative hosted information-sharing workshops in different wards. During the said sessions, participants were acquainted with how the department works as well as what other forms of assistance is available through other agencies.
The City’s unit responsible for small business development is structured in a way that enables it to respond and assist the sector. The primary task of the unit is to help with business registration and financial assistance. It also has a task to look after co-operatives and ensuring their capacity and smooth functionality. What was appreciated by participants was the timely intervention by the municipality because most of the small businesses spend a lot of resources during the registration process and in some instances, they are defrauded by scrupulous entities and individuals.
During the sessions, participants were informed of the drive towards ensuring that for whatever contract is granted by municipality, at least 30% of the value of the contracts awarded need to go to local businesses or contractors. The importance of companies registering into the municipality’s database was emphasized.
Speaking on behalf of the Council’s Supply Chain Department, Mr. Mxolisi Dladla pointed out the importance of getting a company’s details enlisted with the database within Msunduzi so that they can benefit when contracts are allocated. He also shed light on some of the eligibilities they look at when awarding work or contracts like Health and Safety Certification for services providers in the hospitality and food industry sector.
Dladla added: “Our arms are wide-open to all small businesses to come and get much-needed assistance because one of the municipality’s mandate is to ensure local economic beneficiation and inclusive economic participation.” Small business registration is R205 and R325 for co-operatives respectively.