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19 May 2017
SBF Small Business Dialogue 2017

Solving Africa’s problems with African solutions - SBF / Department of Small Business Development Dialogue 2017

“It is the mandate of the DSBD to provide ways to help SMMEs become successful - so let us join together with forward thinking institutions such as UWC to make this possible for the SMMEs that are so essential for the country’s economic future.”


So said Department of Small Business Development Director General - and University of the Western Cape (UWC) alumna - Edith Vries, speaking at the second Small Business Development Stakeholder Dialogue, hosted by UWC’s School and Business Finance (SBF)  on 19 May 2017.


The dialogue was hosted together with the Department of Small Business Development, with Minister Lindiwe Zulu unpacking key areas of her budget speech and exploring the necessity of collaboration between government, business and academia for empowering entrepreneurs, and especially small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).


Minister Zulu  stressed the importance of creating future SMME owners, and the vital role universities such as UWC have to play in this process - as institutions that are engaged in important research, and also engaged in their broader communities..


School of Business and Finance Director, Professor Ricardo Peters, said it is the school’s mission to provide African solutions to African problems.


“We have a unique situation here at the University of the Western Cape - where we have done research on the ground on SMMEs in the poorest communities, and how to help them do better,” he said. “It is therefore very important for us to continue to be pioneers in the discussions and implementation of entrepreneurship education in the SMME space.” 


South Africa’s economic growth is dependent on the rapid development of a cadre of talented managers and entrepreneurs who are attuned to the domestic context and the competitive demands of an increasingly global marketplace.


To help meet that need, the SBF is fast establishing itself as a leader in preparing South African managers for the challenges posed by a rapidly transforming society.  The School provides academic and professional training and research in business communications, finance, general management, industrial relations, marketing, operations and materials management, quantitative methods, entrepreneurship, small business management and strategic management.


“UWC’s key concerns with access, equity and quality in higher education arise from extensive practical engagement in helping the historically marginalized to participate fully in South Africa’s future,” Peters said.

Academia, business and government: A collective effort to empower entreprenurs

Since its inception, the dialogue has grown from strength to strength. The second edition of the annual Dialogue had Minister Zulu unpack key areas of her budget speech and receive feedback from several small businesses on effective implementation of programmes, policies and strategies that will take small business to a higher trajectory.


UWC’s Dean of Economic and Management Sciences, Prof Kobus Visser, said the role of UWC is to develop young talent to become the business and thought leaders of tomorrow, and to be a factory of knowledge that could make a difference in the world.


“It is important for us to hold dialogues such as this one to assist SMMEs, and to also enter into partnerships and education programmes,” he said. “Addressing the challenges facing small businesses - and the economy as a whole - cannot be done in isolation. It’s only when business, government and academia pull together that we can truly succeed.”


“Fruitful dialogues such as this one provide the real platforms for all stakeholders to speak,” added UWC’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, Professor Jose Frantz. “And when we hear each other speak, we learn more about how to tackle our challenges.”