The KwaZulu-Natal Treasury has utilized its financial literacy education campaigns to the rapidly expanding business hubs in the Richards Bay and Empangeni regions, in northern KZN.
Small, medium, micro enterprises (SMMEs) perform a crucial role in South Africa’s economy, regardless of encountering a number of issues. For this reason, MEC for Finance, Ina Cronje, reached out to in excess of 200 SMMEs simply by introducing them to the KZN Financial Literary Association.
The Association will furnish information and offer help and support services to guarantee growth and development of new and existing businesses within the province.
The SMME focus group is among one of five groups that operate beneath the umbrella of the KZN Financial Literacy Association.
The event was held at the Mfolozi FET College and was also attended by the local business leadership of the Zululand Business Chamber, the president of the KZN Youth Business Chamber and Isolezwe, who has currently also joined up with the Association.
Head of the SMME sub-committee, Ntokozo Zikalala, stated that one of the issues impacting on the economy is the fact new businesses start up on a regular basis but shut down quite quickly.
“A serious barrier to growth and developement of sustainable SMMEs is by and large identified as a scarcity of access to start up capital, financial illiteracy, poor planning in addition to shortage of financial management skills. We are at present evaluating all established programmes and identifying gaps and needs, which will make it possible for this focus group to provide a three-year plan of how we visualize to roll out financial literacy education for the SMMEs in the province,” said Zikalala.
Speaking on behalf of the sponsor, Ithala, acting executive manager, Siphiwe Madondo, suggested that financial illiteracy is one of several factors behind poor savings records in the country.
“A number of businesses exhibit exceptional financial illiteracy throughout their planning and the general utilization of money. We would like to be involved in the Association’s activities to assist take the message of financial literacy all around the province in order for the businesses, the majority of them started by previously disadvantaged people, do not crumble,” said Madondo.
Meanwhile, Cronje urged the youth to identify business opportunities and give consideration to entrepreneurship as an option. She cautioned that possessing knowledge about finances as well as business acumen were critical factors for success.
“It requires time and energy. We should forget about getting rich quick without having to roll up our sleeves. In addition, it requires being financially literate. Establishing a business is not driving flashy cars. You need to have an understanding of the basics of what you do. It is in addition essential not to combine your personal and business accounts, and so is being familiar with your target market. Is your market enthusiastic about what you offer? Have you priced it correctly? Undoubtedly you have some homework to do prior to starting a business,” said Cronje.
The initiative was met with a great deal of praise. Sikhulile Cooperative chair Masinama Lushaba commended the MEC for her part in the development of entrepreneurs in the province.
Lushaba was among the initial cooperatives, appointed by the KZN Department of Education in 2006, to participate in the school nutrition programme.
The cooperative has already repaid their loan and are now in a position to expand. Lushaba said the financial literacy programme is going to be utilized to guide them with their business expansion goals and objectives.
For more information
KWAZULU-NATAL FINANCIAL LITERACY ASSOCIATION
Contact: Christi Naudé