GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT NEWS - Representatives from small businesses in the Garden Route, on 14 October 2020 received essential business products from the Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Ald. Memory Booysen.
This handover formed part of the GRDM Small Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) Development Programme.
The objectives of the initiative are to assist small businesses with equipment, stock and other necessities to strengthen, improve and expand their businesses to create more employment opportunities within the Garden Route district.
A total of R400 000 was made available in the 2019/2020 financial year for this project.
As of now, this initiative will assist these businesses that have been challenged in various ways – even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, as a result of the weakened economy.
The SMME sector is also the cornerstone of the economy and is a key priority of the GRDM. SMMEs support and restore the economy in line with the municipality’s Economic Recovery Plan. The Plan is therefore one of the interventions of the municipality to revive its economy.
To qualify as a beneficiary, businesses had to be in operation for at least one year within the boundaries of the Garden Route district.
During his keynote address, Executive Mayor of GRDM expressed a word a gratitude to the GRDM Council, Municipal Manager, Mr Monde Stratu, and the Economic Development team for their continued efforts to ensure that SMMEs from the District are sought after.
Although Alderman Booysen admitted that the COVID-19 lockdown has turned everything upside down, it also presented many opportunities to the GRDM. He said: “COVID-19 has given us an opportunity in terms of what we can do and it made us realise what we are not doing. During this time we realised as Government, what we are not doing so well when holding hands with the informal sector. We focus a lot on big businesses, and COVID-19 has shown us that we have to reach out now more than ever to the informal sector”.
Alderman Booysen said to the entrepreneurs present: “The President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa and the Premier of the Western Cape, Mr Alan Winde, are all looking for innovation and for us to turn the economy around is to be innovative – we thus have to walk the talk with you as small businesses. When we walk with you, we would be fully informed about your operations. When you would need help, we would be able to open up more doors for you,” Mayor Booysen added.
After Alderman Booysen highlighted that the GRDM has embarked on some big developments, he further encouraged all entrepreneurs to be ready with their products when these developments fall in place. “For us to beat what the lockdown has caused to the economy of the Garden Route,” he said: “We need to create jobs and more jobs. We must stop thinking that we only have to stand in queues to apply for jobs, “what we need is to create entrepreneurs and jobs”.
While addressing the entrepreneurs at the event, Mr Quinton Coetzee, Regional Manager of Seda, said, “Business entrepreneurs sometimes feel alone, but you need to understand that you are part of the bigger team”.
He further said that with the support of partners it becomes easier to stay in business and to keep the doors of the business open.
While elaborating on their role in the partnership to assist SMMEs becoming successful exporters of their products, he said, “We looked at the needs of the entrepreneurs and how to fill those gaps. Mr Coetzee stated: “For the past twelve months we trained the entrepreneurs in exporting and pricing, and now these entrepreneurs are in a position to price their products correctly. Training, information and access to information are therefore critical in the success of any business,” he emphasised. Mr Alex Qunta, Provincial Manager of Seda, thanked the leadership of GRDM, Mayor Booysen and Mr Stratu for the municipality’s relationship with Seda. To the SMMEs, Mr Qunta said: “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done, one being yesterday and the other day is called “tomorrow”. He added: “Today is the right day to love, believe in yourself and mostly live your idea and passion”.
Words of appreciation from Beneficiaries
Two of the entrepreneurs Hendrik Tiemie from Hendrik’s Wire Art and Ms Sherrelle Swartbooi from Pure Niqua (Pty) used the platform to share special words of gratitude to the all stakeholders involved.
Mr Tiemie said: “I thank our Heavenly Father for making these contributions possible”. He also thanked the GRDM Team, Mayor Booysen, the GRDM Council and Economic Development team for investing into his business and for their support. He also expressed his appreciation to the relevant Seda business advisor, for her assistance in support of his business. To his fellow SMMEs he said: “Do not give up; stand firm and you will eventually see the results – you will indeed see it was all worth it”.
When addressing the audience, Ms Swartbooi highlighted, “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once gave birth to a decision that traveled from the mind, through the heart and into the world to be nurtured by sacrifices, hard work, by innovation, by mistakes, small and large wings, determination and triumph. On behalf of all SMMEs she said: “Thank you to GRDM for this initiative and for assisting our businesses during these difficult times. You have made our dreams a reality and also if you don’t build on your dreams, someone will hire you to build their dreams. Always dream and build your own dreams,” she added.
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