Topic: SMMEs - Economic Saviour Or Second-class To Big Business?
Keynote speaker: Minister of Small Business Development, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni
Date: Monday, 10 May 2021
Register in advance to attend: https://uwc.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_j0ZpeKCcSlm5pgh_F3yT3A
The small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME) sector, which has been particularly hard hit by the impact of the pandemic, is an important source of wealth and job creation in many countries. In fact, the World Trade Organisation estimates that micro firms and small and medium-enterprises (SMEs) account for the majority of firms worldwide (95 per cent on average), and for most of the jobs.
In South Africa, government has implemented many initiatives to develop the sector and the establishment in 2014 of the Ministry of Small Business Development has been described as “a turning point in history of the development of SMMEs and Cooperatives in South Africa, demonstrating government’s commitment to place SMMEs and Cooperatives at the centre of economic growth and job creation”.
However, a reflection of our post-pandemic recovery reveals an economy in distress, increasing unemployment, escalating poverty and widening inequality. While the policy and associated support agencies are in place, we have to ask whether we have fallen short due to failed leadership?
This year’s 5th annual lecture therefore focuses on how ICTs can positively influence and support SMMEs. Topics under discussion will include operating a small business in the digital era, and the impact of the growing gender digital divide on women entrepreneurs.
“We started the discussion on human capital and the digital economy in 2019, when we hosted the Chancellor's Roundtable for Economic Development. The following year, this extended to an examination of the ethical dilemmas of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with a focus on cyber security and privacy. We would like to maintain the momentum by looking at how ICT can support and enable small business owners as they recover from the impact of the pandemic,” said Professor Michelle Esau, Dean of Economic and Management Sciences, University of the Western Cape.
For an interview with Prof. Esau about the lecture series, watch here or click below.