Township SMEs crucial for economic growth

According to Andile Sangqu (pictured), Anglo American executive head, township economies should not be seen as secondary to or less important than big business.

Speaking at the Enterprise and Supplier Development conference held last week, Sangqu discussed the challenges faced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in townships. Among these are access to financial capital and limited access to market, as well as access to mentorship and skills training. Sangqu also highlighted the role these could play in building the economy.

Sangqu said:

"Black business or township business is not small business... To achieve growth, it is best to help entrepreneurs have access to opportunities in the formal economy."

Sangqu opined that both the public and private sectors must create an enabling environment for SMEs to grow, and in so doing, maximize South Africa's economic potential. To do this, more structural and sustainable support programmes, along with financial investment, is needed. There should also be better collaboration between the formal and informal sectors, something which requires cross-sector partnerships among business, government and civil society, he added.