Transnet launched its Enterprise Development Hub in Johannesburg yesterday and said it will be a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs and potential suppliers to the state owned enterprise.
The Hub, the first of which will be at the Carlton Centre – Transnet’s head office will offer various services including business development, business registration, procurement advisory services, tax registration and compliance, financial support and guidance on black economic empowerment requirements.
Transnet said the plan is to roll out the concept across the country. And the broader objective is to expand opportunities for smaller enterprises and new entrants, especially black-owned entities
Transnet Group Chief Executive, Brian Molefe said “We have identified the need to create an enabling environment for small players to take full advantage of the economic opportunities presented by our investment programme. Additionally, our intention is to assist black-owned entities that struggle to build their businesses into sustainable and profitable entities.”
Although the Hub will primarily target potential suppliers to Transnet, budding entrepreneurs will also receive advice on a broad range of opportunities. In the year to March 2013, Transnet spent an unprecedented R27,5 billion on infrastructure investment as part of its rolling seven-year R307 billion plan aimed at rejuvenating its railways, ports and pipelines. This excludes operational expenditure.
Speaking at the launch Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said statistics show that while small businesses in developed countries contribute around 50 percent to the economy, South Africa’s small businesses contribute a disappointing 30 percent to Gross Domestic Product. “Our aim is to increase the participation of small businesses in the mainstream economy, as they have been identified as being key to unlocking economic growth. More than 12 million South Africans rely directly on small businesses for their livelihood. Small enterprises in South Africa employ between 60% and 70% of the employable population. I therefore believe that it is our responsibility as government to harness this opportunity”.
Transnet said The Hub, which operates five days a week with a staff complement of 10 people, is a partnership with the South African Revenue Service, Gauteng Enterprise Propeller, BEE Verification Agency, National Youth Development Agency, Small Enterprise Development Agency and the Department of Trade and Industry’s Companies Intellectual Property Commission. Transnet provides the bulk of the funding while the partners provide advice and expertise on their respective areas.
Molefe said the partnership is expected to cultivate strategic relationships between Transnet, provincial and national economic development institutions, and provide small businesses access to financial and non-financial support.
“It is our firm belief that the Hub will provide meaningful contribution in supporting and promoting viable and sustainable SMMEs that will have direct impact on the economy through job creation. In that regard, we have committed the SOCs under our stewardship to taking the lead in this drive. I am proud to open and announce this Hub as the first of our initiatives,” concluded Minister Gigaba.
Transnet’s other current enterprise development initiatives include:
· Transnet Itireleng Fund is a collaborative effort between Transnet and the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) aimed at encouraging the participation of SMMEs in the green economy, agri-processing, manufacturing (steel-related industries) and construction. This fund provides financial and non-financialsupport to black women-owned, black-owned, black youth-owned, and people living with disabilities companies in Gauteng.
· Transnet, Shanduka Black Umbrellas Incubation is a non-financial support service aimed at incubating 100 percent black-owned SMMEs, which meet Transnet’s supply chain needs. The initiative is set to benefit the KwaZulu-Natal, Richards Bay and Eastern Cape (Coega) areas.
· Transnet, SEDA Supplier Development offers non-financial support services aimed at strengthening the performance of suppliers, enabling them to be globally competitive. The target market is black-owned suppliers within Transnet’s database.
· The Transnet Canteen Project was set up to accelerate the development of Black women-owned Exempted Micro Enterprises through varied non-financial support services such as office space, the use of equipment, furniture as well as specific training and mentoring interventions. The fund targets catering businesses.