The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) Small Business Hub (SBH) was created specifically to address the needs of small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs) in Southern Africa to contribute to economic growth and job creation.
Seifsa marketing manager Mark Lotter says the SBH, launched in 2015, was in response to unfair criticism that Seifsa looks after the interests of only its bigger member companies.
“Small businesses comprise 60% of Seifsa’s membership and we want to ensure that there is an increase in entrepreneurship in our industry.”
The Seifsa SBH makes it possible for small business to access sound business information, advice and support services at a low cost, have an effective and reliable network of business support service providers who can assist, access business opportunities by connecting through the Seifsa member company network, facilitate financing, develop appropriate skills and competencies, access appropriate manufacturing and key trading sites, as well as facilitate enterprise development.
Further, the fully fledged department of Seifsa aims to identify sector- and company- specific challenges, monitor trends and develop specific interventions to improve SMMEs’ performance, as well as lobby for the interests of SMMEs on various issues.
As such, Seifsa ensures that it continues to create alliances with external partners to strengthen the Seifsa small business value proposition.
“The response to small business in this industry is varied and we continue to engage with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition regarding policy on behalf of small businesses so that we can continue making big strides regarding the direction of labour-related issues that normally drive small business decisions,” adds Lotter.
Moreover, Seifsa will continue to strive to find even more sector-focused solutions relevant to SMMEs, as well as ensure a reduced failure rate of SMMEs through proper coordination of support services.
This will simplify and facilitate new opportunities and linkages to business development and financial services to enable SMMEs to improve productivity and profits.
For the remainder of the year, Seifsa will roll out several programmes to increase engagement with member companies. The federation has developed a digital training programme, a membership retention strategy and a loyalty rewards programme to achieve this goal.
Seifsa’s training ensures that people in the metals and engineering sector become technically skilled individuals so that they can create products of high quality for the industry.