Ms Hlonela Lupuwana, has tendered her resignation as the Chief Executive Officer of the Small Enterprise Development Agency, Seda, on 22 October 2013 after 5 years of service. Ms Lupuwana took up the position as CEO of Seda on 1 May 2009 after acting in the position from September 2008. She will be leaving the organisation at the end of December 2013.
Ms Lupuwana was employed by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) from 2003 as the Chief Operating Officer for Enterprise and Industry Development. In 2004, she was responsible for the establishment of the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), considered as being one of the best managed flagship projects of the dti.
Seda was established in December 2004 through the National Small Business Amendment Act – Act No 29 of 2004, as an agency under the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) to (a) design and implement development support programmes; (b) promote a service delivery network that increases the contribution of small enterprises to the South African economy, and promotes economic growth, job creation and equity; and (c) generally, strengthen the capacity of- (i) service providers to support small enterprises; and (ii) small enterprises to compete successfully domestically and internationally.
The prioritization of job creation by the South African Government has elevated small businesses at policy level. Two key policies, i.e., the New Growth Path and the National Development Plan 2030, identify the small business sector as the key driver of the expected job creation. 90% of the new jobs between now and 2030 is expected to be created by small and expanding firms.
Ms Lupuwana has led an organisation with a current staff compliment of 620 employees and a network of service delivery points which comprises 9 provincial offices, 43 main branches, 12 satellite branches, 42 Seda supported incubation centres, 50 information kiosks, 19 mobile units and 23 co-location points in areas where Seda does not have branch. During her term as CEO, the organizational stability of Seda has been affirmed by the Minister of the dti, Committees of Parliament that Seda has made presentations to, the media, key stakeholders as well as staff members.
She has furthermore been able to establish a culture of high performance and disciplined financial management which can be proven through outcomes of audit and performance reports. The organisation’s financial management system has improved. The Auditor-General has audited and expressed a positive opinion on Seda’s organisational performance inter alia in respect of meeting set targets; compliance to laws and regulations; internal controls; governance; financial management; and financial health. As a result, Seda has had unqualified Audit Reports for five consecutive years (i.e. 2008/09; 2009/10; 2010/11; 2011/12 and 2012/13). Some of Ms Lupuwana’s personal achievements during this time include being selected a finalist for the 2012 SA’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards, receiving the Top Women Award in the Public Sector for 2012 from Topco media and being elected as Vice President for the International Small Business Congress (ISBC) in 2012.
The Board and staff of Seda would like to extend their gratitude to Ms Lupuwana for her contribution to the growth of Seda in small to medium enterprise development.