Scaling up small business

NUMBERS don’t lie as the inaugural Top National Gazelles team reports that 68% of businesses,Picture: TNA

NUMBERS don’t lie as the inaugural Top National Gazelles team reports that 68% of businesses in the programme have increased their performance since their selection, resulting in a R30m increase in business value.

The National Gazelle programme is spearheaded by the Department of Small Business Development, with the support of the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda).

Seda is an agency of the department which helps small enterprises to improve their performance, increase their value and accelerate growth by exposing these micro companies to an intensive development support programme for at least three years.

The second cohort of National Gazelles was introduced by the Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu last Friday. The 40 Gazelles are SME owners selected through a stringent scoring and interview process from 331 online applications.

These businesses will be in a programme for the next three years, receiving strategic interventions tailored for each business. The interventions are expected put these SMEs on a high growth path which is intended to make them efficient and more sustainable, while growing revenues and increasing employment.

The selected cohort comprises SMEs from seven provinces: Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal have eight, Gauteng has seven, North West six, Free State two and Limpopo one. The manufacturing sector is dominant, with 21 businesses in this cohort and 35% are owned by women while 70% are black-owned.

The inaugural Gazelles cohort continues to receive support with the first year mainly focused on a Gazelles growth grant allocation by the Department of Small Business Development and the second year focused on growth.

The department said it approved grant applications for at least 30 SMEs worth R15.9m, of which R8.1m had been paid to 30 suppliers of 14 SMEs for various services rendered.