The first of 14 opportunity centres, which essentially are revamped models based on the traditional business hub, has opened its doors to aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners in Marshalltown on 14 March.
These centres are the brainchild of the City of Johannesburg’s Economic Development Department and last year’s, and Joburg’s first, entrepreneurship symposiums. Five more centres will open across Joburg before the end of June.
These centres, in partnership with companies like Absa, Discovery, Smart Procurement, and Gen Africa, will aim to be a single point of entry for SMMEs. These business owners will get help to register their companies and Sars-related functions. They will have access to funding, markets, economic infrastructure and information to grow their businesses and get assistance with the completion of tender and other application documents.
MMC for Economic Development, Leah Knott, said the City firmly believes that the development and support of small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) and entrepreneurs will play a huge role in achieving a 5 per cent economic growth by 2021 with sustainable businesses contributing to a reduction in unemployment.
— Herman Mashaba (@HermanMashaba) March 14, 2018
“The department also plans to launch a centralised Job Seeker’s Desk mid-2018 to further enhance the support offered by our opportunity centres. Another new and exciting feature in addition to this will be the introduction of Innovation Desks where SMME’s and entrepreneurs can access a platform to launch their unique ideas and receive expert assistance in developing these ideas,” Knott said.
At the launch, Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba said these centres will holistically assist young entrepreneurs. He took guests down memory lane when he was 22 years old and about to start his own business. With one in three unemployed in Joburg, the mayor said the launch of the centre could not have come at a more opportune time.
“Our situation is dire. While employment creation is not a local government competency, we have a responsibility to do what we can to make sure that businesses can create jobs for the rest of our city.”
With buy-in from the partners, along with Innovation Hub, Productivity SA, Saica, Sars, the Companies Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) and the Small Business Development Agency (Seda), the mayor unveiled the plaque. The name given to the centre, Khoebo Opportunity Centre, was the winning entry by a local student.
Interested entrepreneurs can now visit the Samancor Building at 88 Marshall Street on the ninth floor for assistance to help bring their ideas to life.
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