SME assistance is a very complex field as the needs of each SME are different. While funding or finance is important, it is not necessarily the biggest obstacle SMEs face – access to markets is an absolute necessity to any entrepreneur. As an engaged corporate citizen, Absa provides both financial and non financial solutions for sustainable growth and development to small and medium-sized enterprises. Our value proposition to SMEs considers business from three different but interconnected perspectives – access to markets, access to funding and access to business support. With the high number of informal businesses in South Africa such as spaza shops, car washes and shisa nyamas, the 12 Enterprise Development Centres (EDC) that ABSA has developed will assist business owners with running their businesses in a more formal structure.

These centres offer training, mentoring and guidance to individuals and help them run effective businesses. Some of the training subjects on offer include: Banking Principles, Sales and Marketing, Feasibility Studies and Market Research, Costing and Pricing, Tendering, BBBEE Codes, Legal Compliance and Technology in Business. Many of the businesses that fail after just one year of existence fail due to poor financial management. This is where ABSA’s financial literacy at these centres plays a crucial role by educating SMME owners how to better manage their finances.

“Entrepreneurship is about more than just starting a company so that you as the owner are able to maintain your lifestyle, it’s also about building your building your community, creating jobs and building your country. Pupils need to start understanding that they don’t have to just go to school so that they can be employable but they can also go to school as preparation for starting their own businesses, entrepreneurial thinking must be instilled from a young age”, says Oscar Siziba, Provincial Head of ABSA business banking in Gauteng.

The Enterprise Development Centres aim to create and encourage entrepreneurship to ultimately contribute toward job creation and the sustainability of business. Oscar Siziba, Provincial Head of ABSA Gauteng, answers three important questions:

What do the Enterprise Development Centres offer entrepreneurs?

The objective behind these centres is to develop small businesses and guide entrepreneurs by training them in financial literacy, mentoring them and providing them with networking opportunities. The centres have been established to provide and deliver support and services that will ensure that entrepreneurs have the essential business skills, infrastructure and competitiveness needed for a prosperous business.

How do entrepreneurs register to be part of the programme?

Anyone is welcome at the centres. The centres are there to assist anyone with a business and needs guidance, anyone with a plan and needs to be assisted with implementing that plan and anyone that wants to equip themselves with the skills of a successful entrepreneur. Basically anyone with a realistic dream and vision is welcome to visit the centres and will be mentored, trained and given the right networking opportunities to help them create a sustainable business.

Are you reaching entrepreneurs in township?

Yes, entrepreneurs in townships are being communicated with from a young age. ABSA has established apprenticeships that are run in township high schools. The schools identify pupils that have aspirations of running businesses in the future. The pupils are encouraged to draw up business plans some of which will be selected and may be developed into great businesses. There are some of the programmes that have been put into place to help young entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.

Professional staff located at the 12 Enterprise Development Centres are then available to take learning a step further.

For more information contact ABSA Business on 0860 04 03 02 or email ed@absa.co.za Newton Enterprise Development Centre 011 689 1940



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