2015 Budget encouraging for SMEs

Unemployment remains the country’s greatest economic and social challenge
Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, 2015 Budget Speech

The 2015 State of the Nation address, presented by President Jacob Zuma on 12 February 2015, referenced unlocking the potential of small enterprises, and identified small business as one of Government’s nine strategic priorities to be pursued this year. It was therefore positive to note that the 2015 Budget Speech echoed this sentiment, as the development of small business can drastically reduce the high unemployment rate South Africa currently faces.

Gugu Mjadu, spokesperson for the 2015 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year®, says that Government’s commitment to prioritising measures aimed at generating employment is also a positive step for boosting the level of entrepreneurship in South Africa.

She says that the proposed measures in this year’s budget speech, such as tax incentives for employment and investment, support for enterprise development, skills and development and employment programmes, will provide much needed support to local entrepreneurs.

R3.5 billion was allocated towards the new Ministry of Small Business Development for mentoring and training support of small business. “While very rewarding, entrepreneurship is also a tough journey, and entrepreneurs need to be supported in order to grow their businesses to levels at which they can positively contribute to job creation and economic growth, and we believe with the correct mentorship and training, local business can thrive.”

Gugu adds that the mention of the Jobs Fund’s allocation of R4 billion in partnership with the private sector for projects that create employment is encouraging, and hopes that a portion of this will be spent on entrepreneurial ventures with potential for growth. “Access to finance is an issue for many entrepreneurs, and we hope a portion of the allocated funds will continue to be used to support up and coming entrepreneurs and business concepts that have the potential to sustain job creation.”

Further support for entrepreneurs was also provided in the form of SARS establishing a small business desk in its revenue offices to assist small businesses to comply with tax requirements. “We hope that this additional support will lessen the amount of time small businesses spend complying with the various processes and enable entrepreneurs to exercise more effort in developing their business instead.

“Overall, the budget was entrepreneur and small business-friendly, and we hope that Government’s commitment to small business will drive entrepreneurial development with the country,” concludes Gugu.