Make use of available biz support | Feature | Small Business Connect

Graham Kannemeyer, owner of Graham’s Used Spares, with his wife Sabrina.

Thousands of business owners have already been recipients of the Western Cape government’s business support initiatives, with many more set to benefit.

Over 2 000 businesses operating across various industries have benefited from funding, business incubation and direct-sponsorship projects supported by the Provincial Government.

Graham Kannemeyer’s used car parts shop is one such business. He runs Graham’s Used Spares in Blackheath and is the recipient of a R1.5-million loan thanks to an initiative run by The Business Place, a member of the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s (DEDAT) Partner Network of business support organisations.

He approached The Business Place six months ago for funds to buy new business premises.

After successfully applying for the organisation’s enterprise development initiative aimed at growing small business, he was given funding to buy a 1 200 m2 premises to continue operating.

“I was granted funding at a time when I wanted to expand (my business), by buying new premises, but was unable to cover the costs myself which include paying architects, municipal bills and other maintenance fees,” he says.

Having received the loan in May, Kannemeyer expects to move into his new business premises soon. “I now know there are opportunities for small business owners such as myself and the funding has enabled me to increase my staff and keep up with the demand the new building and new technology I plan to install will bring,” he says.

He says he plans to apply for further assistance as he was wants to set up shop in other parts of the country. Kannyemeyer attended a Business Partners event held at the Mount Nelson Hotel where Solly Fourie, head of DEDAT, delivered the keynote address on the post-election economic landscape.

Fourie says one of the government’s long-term plans is to boost the local economy through the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone, which is expected to create over 15 000 jobs in the next three years.

He called on business owners to co-operate with government to help reduce red tape issues.

He says business owners should make those businesses and government departments they supply aware of the challenges that small business owners face such as dealing with complicated regulations and lengthy applications processes, for example.

Fourie says business owners should also check with big business on how a small business can improve its chances of becoming a supplier.

“Entrepreneurs in various industries, including those in the design and information technology (IT), can accelerate growth by using the opportunities that the programmes provide them with,” says Fourie.

The department facilitates access to private investors where new business ideas and concepts are pitched for investment.

To date, the network has reached more than 30 000 business owners who are regularly updated on the department’s plans to improve the sector.

These include exposing business owners to information on the department’s financial and non-financial business development programmes and employee skills training initiatives.

Entrepreneurs can approach private investors directly to increase their chance to turn their ideas into profit-making enterprises.