The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) has made a good name for championing of socio-economic development of the region. It places the interest of small businesses at the Centre of economic growth.
To this end, small business development and support is crucial as a catalyst for addressing poverty, unemployment and inequalities in the society.
The NDP 2030 encourages more emphasis on Small Medium Micro Enterprise (SMME) support; it encourages government and the private sector to procure from small firms, and to enhance the development of black and female managers and professionals.
The CDC has a dedicated SMME Business Unit that facilitates programmes related to the development of SMMEs.
As an empowerment driven organisation, the CDC has pursued a number of initiatives, which prioritises empowerment to unlock opportunities particularly in the built environment, i.e., infrastructure development and facilities maintenance.
The CDC’s highly successful SMME development programme, which provides tools that prepare SMMEs for competing and successfully responding to government tenders, has seen a surge in SMME participation on large contracts.
The importance of SMME participation in the economy would be even more pronounced in the years to come due to the corona virus pandemic.
The billions of rands to be spent on infrastructure development in the country to revive our economy should also benefit SMMEs, said Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC’s Head of Marketing, Brand and Communications.
Last year, the CDC’s procurement spent was R2, 098 billion, of which a total of R609 million benefited small businesses in all areas where the organization has operations. In the last five year period, 2015-2020, SMME procurement spent achieved by the organisation was 35%.
Furthermore, it is pleasing that the organization was direct in ensuring that its new multi-million rand 4-Star Bluewater Bay Sunrise Hotel (the Sunrise Hotel) located in Bluewater Bay, Port Elizabeth, and soon to open its doors to the paying public was built by small businesses, said Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC’s Head of Marketing, Brand and Communications.
The CDC’s developmental initiatives yielded great results for local SMMEs. As at the end of March 2020, 383 SMMEs benefited from the SMME training programme, wherein 178 SMMEs received CETA accredited training and 205 SMMEs received non-accredited training.
In addition, the CDC conducted compliance workshop in partnership with SARS and CIDB during the year with a total of 652 SMMEs that attended the workshop.
80% of SMMEs who were awarded contracts by the CDC have successfully completed a SMME mentorship programme while more than 72 SMMEs successfully upgraded on CIDB through our intervention and support.
This statistic is important for the CDC because it focuses on the growth of SMMEs from lower level grades to higher ones, which enable SMMEs to tender for high valued projects.
“We are aware that access to economic opportunities remains one of the key aspects of driving Small, Medium, Micro and Enterprise (SMME) development and the organization’s objective is therefore to facilitate, promote and drive the inclusion of SMMEs in procurement opportunities”, adds Ms Maholwana.
Whilst improving the economic condition of SMME’s in the region, the CDC in turn has been hard at work to improve its B-BEE status. It is pleasing that the organisation has improved its B-BBEE status from level 4 in 2019 to a level 2 in 2020”, concludes Ms Maholwana.
SMME’s are the productive drivers of inclusive economic growth and development in South Africa and around the world.