While the launch of Finfind, a web-based service to bring financiers from the public and private sectors and small and medium lenders together, is just part of the two-day National SMME (Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises) Policy Colloquium 2015, it is a key component in what Zulu called “the war on poverty and unemployment.”Other keynote speakers at the colloquium were United States Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard, Institute for SME head Professor Michael Woywode, of the University of Manheid, Germany, Small Business Development Institute (SBDI) Chief Executive Officer Xolani Qubeka and finfind CEO Darlene Menzies.Unlocking SMME potential Qubeka said more robust efforts were essential to ensure the sustainable success of small businesses in marginalized communities. He added the potential of SMMEs in townships and rural areas had to be unlocked, supported and integrated into the public and private sectors. Despite a gloomy economic climate, from which South Africa was not immune, small and medium businesses were vital in addressing economic imbalances and key to unlocking South Africa’s huge economic potential. Stressing that greater efforts were needed to assist the youth, the CEO said: “SMMEs are the key to economic growth of marginalized communities and people.”
The US Ambassador stressed that often diplomats had an obligation to support initiatives. “However, Finfind is something I’m passionate about. Something that thrills me and something I’m truly humbled and proud to be associated with.”
Gaspard stressed that South Africa ranked as the 62nd highest user of the internet with an average 42% per capita access to the web compared to the global average of 35%. “It is for this reason we are all so excited in bringing big business and SMMEs together on the Internet, be it from offices to schools and rural community centres.
Zulu stressed “the Government has prioritized entrepreneurship and the advancement of SMMEs as the catalyst to growth, development and prosperity. We must unlock the potential of SMMEs in townships and rural areas. They are the lifeblood of sustainable economic growth. We have duty to our nation to make robust efforts in making funds and advice more accessible to small businesses. “This will not be easy but we must soldier on. This is a war we will win.”