As an emerging country boasting more than 5.6-million small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs), South Africa needs to find ways to increase the contribution of these game changers to the nation’s economic structure.
While there is a lack of reliable data available to help government conduct sector analysis and design policy interventions to assist SMMEs, existing data sources showed there was an indicative upward swing in the number of SMMEs scattered across the country, said Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) Gauteng provincial manager Colin Leshou.
Speaking at the Small Business Indaba, in Kempton Park, on Monday, he said comprehensive surveys revealed that the number of SMMEs had increased from 1.6-million in 2000 to 2.4-million in 2007 and to 5.6-million in 2010.
Of the 5.6-million SMMEs, 3.3-million were survivalist businesses, 1.7-million microenterprises and 554 000 small enterprises.
Further statistics showed that 64% of the survivalists are run by women, while 98% of survivalist businesses are informal business.
Around 92% of microenterprises and 82% of the small businesses are black owned, 75% of microenterprises are informal businesses and 87.3% of small businesses are formal businesses.
With 90% of jobs expected to be created by small businesses, Leshou reiterated the vital role played by SMMEs in the economy.
In future, it would not be multinationals that lead the charge, he said, it would be small private companies that would be able to provide the number of jobs the country required to grow its gross domestic product (GDP).
SMMEs’ contribution to GDP in 2007 was 35% – a target that will be increased to 60% to 80% over the next 10 to 15 years.
Leshou also pointed out that the formal or registered businesses comprised 1.3% survivalists, 24.6% microenterprises and 76.3% small businesses, the latter of which were registered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission and which Seda aimed to further develop under several programmes, including the National Gazelles.
The National Gazelles is a national three-year small business growth accelerator funded by Seda and the Department of Small Business Development.