2016 Convention Report:

SASMEF launches nationally at 2nd Annual Convention in Gauteng

SASMEF Communications

Mar 30, 2016

The 2nd annual Convention of the South African Small and Medium Enterprises Federation took place on 17 March 2016 at the DBSA Vulindlela Auditorium in Midrand.

The theme for the gathering was "IMSME Expands Networks for Inclusive Entrepreneurship Aligned with UN Sustainable Goals".


SASMEF launches nationally at 2nd Annual Convention in Gauteng

Gathering under the theme of #IMSME Expands Networks for Inclusive Entrepreneurship Aligned with UN Sustainable Goals, the second annual convention of the South African Small and Medium Enterprises Federation (SASMEF)  brought together a core group of decision makers from the public, private and social sectors to debate and seek to reach consensus on the key issues effecting small business in South Africa.

Taking place at the Development Bank of Southern Africa in the Midrand, Gauteng, the convention started off with a brief welcome from SASMEF Chairman Dr Ruben Richards. The first session of the day was a high level discussion on policy, markets and money: SME’s Achilles Heel? This session was facilitated by head of the African Insights think tank E. Daniel Kinnear. He was joined by Sandile Zungu , Head of Anglo American SA, and Ambassador Marcus Cornaro, Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of South Africa.

While much was mentioned about the current blockages to markets and capital that SME’s experience, it was noted that the Anglo Zimele Fund was an industry leader that should be studied by big business in South Africa as a model that works. In the discussion Sandile suggested a portal be created which big business may support as a place where SMME can access market opportunities. This was well received as it is in line with SASMEF's objectives.

After much robust debate, Letsholo Mojanaga, Programme Manager for Inclusive Growth at UNDP, presented an overview of the Mexican model of a supplier development programme including methodology, rational, management structures as well as the background and context. The four thematic areas of the presentation were inclusive growth and decent work, sustainable development, human capabilities and governance and participation. Cross cutting priority areas highlighted were HIV/Aids, TB, gender equality and rights and youth.

Carmelo Cocuzza, Head of Regional Representation for the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region for the European Investment Bank, followed the UNDP with a presentation entitled “EIB Tools for Financial Inclusion and Development”.  Set up in 1958, the EIB shareholders are 28 EU states and warrants a AAA rating. With EUR84.5bn worth of deals signed in 2015, the EIB is the world’s largest multilateral financier. Their strategic focus areas are infrastructure and the financial sector. In South Africa, the EIB works through intermediary banks and have signed finance contracts of over R47bn in SA since 1994. In 2015 the EIB committed R2.6bn split into three lots of R850 million with the IDC, Nedbank and FNB.

The EIB has extensive knowledge of Micro Financing tools from which SASMEF may structure a fresh micro finance infrastructure for South Africa.

A second high level discussion facilitated by Ellis Mnyandu, Founder of Candid Media and past editor of Business Report, followed on the topic of “How can the SMME sector collaborate effectively to create an enabling environment for sustainable SMME’s?” This topic was opened up to the floor for ideas and it was clear that a major obstacle is the lack of a single voice for small business as well as the inherent competitive nature of small businesses which leads to a lack of sharing of ideas. It was suggested that small businesses look to make market linkages and create their own value and supplier chains.

Wrapping up the convention was the keynote address of Dr Edith Vries, Director General of the Department of Small Business Development. Her topic was “SMME Stakeholder Collaboration is Fundamental to the DSBD Strategy for Economic Transformation”. In a very frank and open presentation, Dr Fries outlined the journey that the DSBD has taken from inception to the present. While asserting that much has been done by the department to ensure that small business has a voice in the halls of government, she admitted that much still has to be done and that all stakeholders must work together to stop the current slide of our economy. Her message was clear – we are all in this together and we must find a way to get past the legacy of distrust between government and the private sector.

After a networking luncheon, delegates re-entered the auditorium to undertake the SASMEF annual general meeting. At the AGM a decision was taken to retain the current directors and co-opt three additional directors to lead the SASMEF charge in the Northern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng.

The SASMEF Board would like to thank the sponsors, the DBSA, Caban Investments, Candid Media Group and the The Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Development Trust as well as our supporters and delegates who supported this landmark occasion.

Founded in 2012, the South African Small and Medium Enterprises Federation (SASMEF) is a national private social enterprise that unlocks resources from the political and economic centres as a catalyst for the creation and development of sustainable SME’s.


Carl J Lotter
+2721 850 0780
+2772 881 7900


Supplier Best Practice Model: Mexico - Letsholo Mojanaga, Programme Manager: Inclusive Growth, UNDP

EIB Tools for Financial Inclusion and Development - Carmelo Cocuzza, Head of Regional Representation, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean, European Investment Bank

Keynote Address: SMME Stakeholder Collaboration is Fundamental to the DSBD Strategy for Economic Transformation  - Dr. Edith Vries, Director General, Department of Small Business Development

SASMEF value proposition and strategy - Carl Lotter, CEO, SASMEF & Desmond Seely, COO, SASMEF