More business owners are expected to apply for the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Verification Programme, which has already assisted more than 1 000 firms.
This follows the recent amendments to the BEE Codes in October, which will see the threshold for Exempted Micro Enterprises (EME) increase from R5 million to R10 million.
Frances Ngqela, programme coordinator, says that the aim is to provide sponsorship towards business owners with a turnover of less than R10 million being able to attain a BEE certificate as of October 2013.
The BEE verifications programme is sponsored by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism and is aimed at small businesses.
An advertisement for applications for the programme is placed twice a year via the media, business support centres and government departments throughout the province.
After this, applications are received and business owners who qualify are assisted.
Delores Kilshaw started stationery and office supplies business, Key Stationery, 16 years ago with her her mom, husband and sons.
She says she rates the service received by the programme’s verifications agency as an eight out of 10.
“I previously paid R5 000 to a BEE verifications agency that was not contracted by the department and, even though I paid less with the department’s verifications agency I still received good service,” says Kilshaw.
As a result of the subsidised costs, she only paid R228 for her certificate in June 2013 and has since landed three contracts.
She says she first heard about the programme when attending a talk organised by the South African Women’s Entrepreneurship Network (Sawen) where someone from the department spoke about the programme.
“I downloaded the application and completed it. I then had to provide documentation such as a tax clearance certificate and pay R228. The whole process took me about a month,” says Kilshaw.
She says she has already recommended many other business owners to the programme.
Ngqela says that although applications for subsidies only open twice a year, names of business owners who contact the programme’s offices are still taken down and business owners are then notified when applications open.
Small BEE consultancies can also tender to supply the services required of a verifications agency.
“We have recently entered into a service level agreement with a verifications agency,” says Ngqela.
She says advertisements for tenders are placed via Tradeworld and the next tender is scheduled for 2014.
“After issuing the application to tender, an evaluation panel checks to see if candidates meet the relevant criteria, such as accreditation with the South African National Accreditation System (Sanas) and a decision is then made as to who is awarded the tender,” says Ngqela.
Business owners interested in applying can contact the verifications programmes offices.
- For more information contact 021 483 9159.