Support on the way for small firms | News | Small Business Connect

Business owners in Nelson Mandela Bay will have access to extra business support when Absa bank launches its Centre for Entrepreneurship in that area early next year.

The centre will assist small business owners with access to funding, business support, access to markets, free use of basic communications technology, business support services which include consultations, business facilities and infrastructural support.

The announcement by Absa enterprise development manager Gcinashe Vambe comes in the wake of protests by angry business owners in the area who say that they have not received sufficient business support and this has restricted growth in their businesses. Small Business Connect reported on this in October. Vambe was speaking at a function in Port Elizabeth that honours successful businesswomen.

“The centre will be established towards the end of the first quarter next year.

At the moment I cannot say where exactly the facility will be situated in the city,” Vambe said. This is one of several small business development initiatives that the bank runs across the country and, she says, one example to show how the private and public sectors can collaborate to boost the national economy.

“The centre will help business owners cut costs traditionally associated with starting and running a business, through offering business support services, meeting rooms, presentation facilities, hot desks and boardrooms,” says Vambe.

She said the bank is also about to offer new services which include BEE certificates and internet connectivity. Through the bank’s procurement portal – a virtual marketplace that connects small business owners with blue chip companies and government bodies – the growth of small business owners has been fast-tracked to encourage the private sector to procure products or services from these businesses.

More than 32 000 small business owners and over 3 000 corporate buyers are already registered on the portal and are actively utilising it.

“Access to relevant non-financial support such as technology, office equipment and space or business consultation and training, is important for business growth.”