The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) has been appointed a permanent member of the International Small Business Congress (ISBC) Steering Committee while SEDA CEO Hlonela Lupuwana was elected ISBC Vice President for Africa.
This took place during the ISBC congress held in Sandton Convention Centre this week. Lupuwana is the first incumbent of the newly created position.
Lupuwana seems to have turned around Seda since taking what was a struggling organisation over in May 2009. She holds an MBA from the University of Pretoria and came to SEDA directly from the Department of Trade and Industry where she served as CEO for Enterprise and Industry Development between 2003 and 2008. Before then she served Deloitte and FNB.
Styles as a national small business development and support service provider, Seda employs about 600 people and commands an annual about R600m. It has nine provincial offices and a network of 42 branches and 30 technology incubators.
Seda was established in 2004 out of a merger between Ntsika Enterprise Promotion Agency, National Manufacturing Advisory Centre and the Community Public Private Partnership Programme. The GODISA Trust and the Technology Programmes were integrated into Seda in April 2006, becoming Seda Technology Programme (Stp).
Accepting the appointment Lupuwana said this was recognition of Seda’s contribution to the work of small enterprise development in South Africa and the Continent. Lupuwana indicated that Seda would use its new role within the ISBC to promote the interests of African small enterprises in the global economy.
“Ours, as we step in to represent Africa in this world body, is to work with our partners in the rest of the world to promote fair and equitable trade for small enterprises all over the world, and especially in Africa. All that our small enterprises require is a fair opportunity to trade, and we want to advocate for this imperative through the ISBC,” says Lupuwana.
The ISBC gathers individuals from governments (policymakers), small business support agencies, entrepreneurs, business membership organisations, academia, financial institutions, international development agencies and various others with an interest in entrepreneurship and small business development around the world to discuss issues pertinent to the promotion of entrepreneurship and small business worldwide. Since the first Congress, held in Hawaii in 1974, the ISBC has hosted thirty-six annual congresses in different parts of the world, enabling entrepreneurship and small business promoters to gain exposure to different contexts, thereby enriching their own practice in their home countries. The 37th Congress in Sandton was the first to be hosted in Africa.
Lupuwana said the 37th ISBC theme “Fostering small business in new and high-potential industries worldwide” was aligned perfectly to current global economic shifts that offer Africa enormous opportunities for economic transformation and a more resilient pattern of economic growth, as long as the region can enter higher value-added areas of trade.
Seda and Lupuwana take up their positions with immediate effect. “We look forward to being in constant contact with respected policymakers and small business support agencies of the world as we trail-blaze on the path of small business development. We will use this opportunity to create much needed exposure not only for our clients, but for each and every small business in Africa that wishes for an opportunity to compete fairly in the world market,” concludes Lupuwana.