This follows the launch in Johannesburg in August of the Transnet enterprise development hub by the Minister of Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba.
The hub, based at the Carlton Centre, offers walk-in assistance to business owners in everything from registering a business, to financial support, business development support, procurement advisory services, tax registration and help with BEE requirements.
Transnet has set aside a further R60 million to help roll out the concept across the country, adding that this amount might increase in the months and years to come.
Transnet executive manager of group-integrated supply chain management, Mmadiboka Chokoe, did not want to reveal how many more hubs would be opened and where these would be based, adding that an announcement would be made in this regard in the near future.
The Carlton Centre hub’s manager, Mathebe Tsomele, said between July 25 and September 9, 733 visitors had registered at the hub for support, with most of those registering being business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Tsomele said so far 36 companies had been registered at the Companies Intellectual Property Commission’s (CIPC) desk in the hub.
She said the feedback from the public had so far been very positive, with many impressed by the many services on offer.
The hub operates five days a week between 08:00 and 15:30, and visitors can also get access to services from the SA Revenue Service (Sars), Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP), BEE Verification Agency, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda).
The launch of the hub comes over a year after Transnet announced its intention to spend over R300 billion over a seven-year period through its Market Demand Strategy on capital projects.
In addition Transnet will spend R200m on other enterprise development initiatives.
Meanwhile, Transnet is preparing to roll out several other initiatives to help develop suppliers and small businesses. These include the Transnet Itireleng Fund GEP, the Transnet Seda Supplier Development programme offering non-financial support services to Transnet suppliers and the Transnet Canteen Project to assist black catering businesses.
To prepare new players to exploit procurement opportunities at Transnet, the state entity also hosts supplier development workshops, to detail Transnet’s procurement processes and to provide tips for successful tendering.
In partnership with incubation support organisation Shanduka Black Umbrellas, two business incubators are expected to open their doors in November.
The incubators – to be based in Port Elizabeth and Richards Bay – will offer both non-financial and financial support to enterprises, and will each accommodate up to 50 entrepreneurs.
Transnet is one of a number of organisations and large companies rolling out business incubators as part of a broader drive undertaken by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, to ramp up incubation to boost support to small businesses.
Chokoe said the three-year agreement with Shanduka Black Umbrellas, valued at R30 million, includes mentoring and business support as well as office space and shared services such as a receptionist, boardroom and driver for business owners.
To complement this, Chokoe said Transnet would also offer loans of between R10 000 and R250 000 to enterprises.