THE government’s small business advisory council is analysing what the impact of the state’s support for small business has been like and how effective the government’s procurement processes have been in supporting small firms.
The National Small Business Advisory Council was set up in 2006 to advise the Department of Trade and Industry on small business issues. A new council was chosen this year for a three-year period.
The convenor of the National Small Business Advisory Council, Professor Mthuli Ncube, who currently serves as chief economist for the African Development Bank based in Tunisia, said the council had so far met three times since its new term commenced in April.
Ncube said the council’s eight members had focused on a number of other areas as well, including:
· Whether financial skills and business training given to business owners who apply for loans or grants had been affective or not.
· What effect regulatory requirements and processes had on small firms and how this affects their ability to survive.
· The kind of partnerships the government can exploit, with among others, banks, big businesses and non-profit organisations, to boost support to small business?
· What had been the impact of Black Economic Empowerment in promoting small businesses. Ntuli said the council was particularly interested in whether big firms were procuring from enough small businesses.
He said the Council would launch research studies and collect information on these issues and then pass on advice and recommendations to the Department of Trade and Industry, with the aim of offering the department “informed advice” in developing small business.
When asked about what the possibility was of opening up the council’s discussions to the public – as was the case in India and Brazil where meetings on their respective small business councils are well reported on – Ncube said the idea of releasing the minutes was a “good one” and added that he would have to put this to the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, who heads up the council.
The council’s other members are: Mr N Thusi; Proffessor Gesler Muxe Nkondo, Ms PF Lugayeni; Mr J James; Mr R Ratshitanga; Ms D Ndaba and Mr Sebueng.
This article appeared in Business Day on 20 July 2010.
Stephen Timm is a