During these challenging economic times and with the limited number of available job opportunities, job seekers are encouraged to consider becoming entrepreneurs. While this may seem quite daunting to some, help is at hand with the City of Cape Town’s Small Business Support Service.
The City’s small business support service is a one-stop-shop that seeks to help entrepreneurs save time, energy and money. This service is available to connect entrepreneurs with opportunities by finding the right support organisations or services that are freely available or partly subsidised. This service will assist budding entrepreneurs to get off the starting blocks and see their business ideas come to fruition.
There are over 90 business support organisations that provide services to entrepreneurs who are either doing business or wanting to start up a business in the city. Through this service, the City helps start-ups and existing ventures to find the most appropriate support service from the network of development organisations (including financiers) that are located in Cape Town.
“We strive to meet the needs of our residents and we see economic development as an essential part of social upliftment. The only way that we can ensure sustainable economic development is if we create an enabling environment for start-up businesses to get off the ground and try and advise those struggling where they could find assistance,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development, Councillor Garreth Bloor.
The small business support service response time is monitored and, based on the first quarter of the City’s financial year, 94% of enquiries sent through have been actioned or resolved within 48 hours. A struggling venture that may not be aware that there are support organisations who can assist or provide much needed advice can benefit from this service.
“The Small Business Support Service hosts information and outreach sessions to groups of business people to explain the City’s supply chain processes and how to access opportunities. We strive to make doing business in Cape Town easier for our entrepreneurs by sharing information about City procedures. We work with entrepreneurs to assist with resolving bottlenecks and reducing red tape caused by a lack of knowledge of City processes and business-related issues. Two of the critical success factors for any small enterprise to survive are access to training and finance, which we help to facilitate as well,” said Councillor Bloor.
To standardise the City’s approach and to ensure that the City continues to provide an enabling business environment, a Draft Business Support Policy will be out for public comment from 1 February 2016 to 1 March 2016.
“I encourage support organisations and businesses to submit their comments on this draft policy. We need to make sure that the policy addresses the challenges that they face. It also highlights the extent of our support for entrepreneurs,” added Councillor Bloor.
Recognising that information is key to the success of entrepreneurial activity and an enabler to ease potential delays in doing business, the City is committed to ensuring that the relevant information required by businesses is available through accessible channels.
This will include information on:
- City procedures and business assistance programmes
- Connecting businesses with the right City officials and resources
- Assistance with resolving bottlenecks caused by a lack of knowledge of City processes, business-related issues, regulatory compliance, etc.
- Access to financial guidance in order to find the most suitable source of funding
- Information about existing support organisations
- Economic trends and market opportunities
- Industry-specific information for targeted sectors