Minister Lindiwe Zulu calls for effective collaboration between businesses

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SASMEF Communications

Oct 8, 2015

South Africa needs more success stories of a symbiotic relationship between big and small businesses. It appears small businesses tend to participate at the end of the value chain when a product is finished. This was said by Minister of Small Business Development this morning in Cape Town at the South Africa-Italy Summit.

“We must proceed from the premise that supporting small businesses and co-operatives is not a philanthropic gesture on the part of big business. In fact, it is in their interest to help grow and sustain small businesses. They are tied in a symbiotic relationship with small businesses”, said Minister Zulu.

She added: “The diversification of supply chains assists big business to have a wider choice of suppliers from SMMEs and promotes innovation within the value chain. The growth and sustainability of big business therefore depends on a strong small business sector, both as consumers and suppliers”.

Minister Zulu said that it was encouraging that this outlook was changing, albeit at a slow pace. “More and more small business owners and entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the transformation agenda”.

She said that an ideal situation would be to see large companies “voluntarily” opening up opportunities for small companies to participate in their entire value chains. “However, this has not been easy as government had to step in with legislative measures such as the Black Economic Empowerment Policy”, said the Minister.

Minsiter Zulu pointed out: “In as much as the automotive sector in Italy integrates big and small companies, and has lessons for us in South Africa, let me propose that other sectors that need to be looked at include the ICT and renewable energy sectors”, adding that human capital development and skills upgrading play an important role in enabling small companies to participate in big corporate value chains.

“Some of the incubators especially in the ICT and renewable energy spaces are still at their infancy stages. We hope that through a collaborative effort between Italy and South Africa, we can learn from each other and apply relevant and appropriate lessons. This would enable small companies to become competitive and be fully integrated in private sector value chains”.

Enquiries:
Cornelius Monama
Spokesperson: Department of Small Business Development
Cell: 082 578 4063
Tel: 012 394-3027
Fax: 086 544 0931
E-mail: CMonama@dsbd.gov.za

Issued by: Department of Small Business Development