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R50m in cost-sharing grants for trader support

The Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) has allocated R50m to the rollout of the Shared Economic Infrastructure Facility (SEIF,)  which aims to provide informal traders with access to basic infrastructural facilities.

SEIF is a 50:50 cost-sharing grant made available to municipalities, provincial government entities and private companies on a reimbursable basis, whereby the DSBD makes a contribution of 50% towards a qualifying infrastructure project upon the completion of agreed project milestones. It is a sub-programme of the Black Business Supplier Development Programme and is aimed at assisting black-owned small enterprises in improving their competitiveness and sustainability. The grant is available to municipalities and provincial government entities as well as companies in the private sector.

Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu announced the R50m allocation at a graduation ceremony for informal traders at the Zolani Community Centre in Nyanga in the Western Cape on Tuesday. Speaking at the ceremony, Zulu expressed concern over the lack of infrastructural facilities for businesses in the informal sector, particularly in trading areas where municipalities collect rental for the use of trading stalls.

She urged provinces, municipalities and corporate companies to apply for the cost-sharing grant, which goes up to R5m, so as to help these businesses.

The graduation ceremony was for 116 traders who were graduating from training courses run through a partnership between DBSD, the Wholesale and Retail SETA and Technical Vocational Education and Training colleges. They received certificates in modules such as: introduction to entrepreneurship; advertising and promotion; customer care and service; basic financial management; purchasing skills and legal issues. The ceremony was also attended by Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande.

The informal sector contributes more than six percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP.)

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