Janet Semple MPL
Deputy Spokesperson on Economic Development
The recently launched Gauteng Business Investment Centre (GIC), located amidst the glitz and glam of Sandton and a Gautrain ride away from OR Tambo for foreign investors, fails to reach and support those who need it the most.
The aims of the GIC are noble: it hopes to reduce the cost of doing business in Gauteng by improving application and documentation turnaround times and growing business in the province.
However, its focus, location and prospects are questionable.
In the first instance, focusing on reducing the cost and turnaround times of the extensive and suffocating red tape and regulatory environment is misguided.
The Gauteng Provincial Government should instead eradicate red tape that are significant burdens to setting up and running small business in Gauteng.
Additionally, housing the GIC in Sandton – far removed from the local entrepreneurs and small business owners across the province – makes it inaccessible and undermines its impact and prospect for success.
The GIC and similar initiatives must be based at the municipal level in local communities. This makes it easier for aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small business owners from KwaThema, Soweto, Orange Farm, Olievenhoutbosch, Mapobane and Vosloorus to succeed.
Big corporate operations already have the money and capacity to navigate government’s extensive and suffocating red tape burden.
Instead, it is ordinary one man and one woman operations who find it burdensome and costly to set up, maintain and run a small business to support themselves and their families. These are the people the centre should assist, but it is making it even more expensive for them to get assistance by requiring that they travel to Sandton instead of getting help in the community they live in.
The GIC model as it stands has very limited reach and slight prospects for successfully growing small business to be the primary drivers of real job creation.
The GIC demonstrates that the current government is not serious about real job creation.
The DA government in Gauteng will:
- Roll out Small Business Incubators where start-ups can share free basic office resources in a single location;
- Establishing Opportunity Centres where entrepreneurs can access support services from government more easily than ever before;
- Pioneering a new system of Opportunity Cards for entrepreneurs as a means to access credit from government; as well as discounted business advisory services like accounting, training and insurance.
The DA is serious about real jobs! And core to our commitment to real jobs is creating a province of entrepreneurs, each with their own job-creating businesses.
When entrepreneurs and small business succeed, Gauteng succeeds.
Together for change, together for jobs!