DEVELOPMENT: Cape Town Business Support Voucher Programme Is Popular
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The City of Cape Town’s Business Support Voucher Programme for emerging entrepreneurs is growing in popularity and thousands of Capetonians are making use of this opportunity to help them start their small or medium size enterprises.
According to a recent report, 315 small businesses benefitted from the programme between January 2010 and March 2010 alone.
This programme was launched in 2005 with the aim of subsidising historically disadvantaged entrepreneurs in Cape Town, over the age of 35, to obtain essential services that are needed to start a business.
The business support services that the City subsidizes for these entrepreneurs are provided by accredited Business Development Service Providers, who offer specialised technical and managerial support while ensuring skills transfer to entrepreneurs.
The subsidized services offered to the entrepreneurs through this programme include feasibility studies, business plans, mentoring, branding, as well as business health checks. The voucher programme is easily accessible across the city, as it is available from all of the Red Door Centres, situated in Atlantis, Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain, at mobile outreach services, and also at The Business Place Ikapa in central Cape Town.
According to the quarterly report of the Cape Agency for Sustainable Integrated Development in Rural Areas (CASIDRA), who implements the programme for the City, 315 of these vouchers were issued to up and coming entrepreneurs between January 2010 and March 2010. Thousands of people have made use of this opportunity since the inception of the programme in 2005.
Councillor Pat Hill, Chairperson of the Economic and Social Development Portfolio Committee, said that it is most encouraging that beneficiaries have used the business skills they have acquired through this programme to successfully apply for loans from commercial banks. “It is pleasing to note that for the quarter ending January 2010 to March 2010, emerging businesses have accessed loan funding of over R386 257 from banks and contracts worth over R29 447 560,” he said.
Thembinkosi Siganda, the City’s Director: Economic and Human Development, said this programme is proof of the City’s commitment to developing entrepreneurship in the city. “The City aims to create an environment that will enable entrepreneurs to overcome formidable barriers of entry into the world of business, for example HDI businesses are paid within 15 days upon submission of complete documentation. Moreover, the City is reforming a number of business processes which will benefit the small business sector in the near future. The promotion of entrepreneurship is a core component of the City’s economic promotion strategy. The 2009 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report found that Cape Town had the highest rate of early stage entrepreneurship in South Africa.”
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