DM Mathale re-launches a seda‘s centre for entrepreneurship and rapid incubator in Evander

“Heroes like Gert Sibande laid the foundation for the political freedom we enjoy today."

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The Bulletin News
The Deputy Minister of Small Business Development (DSBD), Mr Cassel Mathale

The Deputy Minister of Small Business Development (DSBD), Mr Cassel Mathale officially re-launched the SEDA’s expanded Gert Sibande TVET College Centre for Entrepreneurship and Rapid Incubator (CfERI).
“Heroes like Gert Sibande laid the foundation for the political freedom we enjoy today, it is up to us- especially the youth- to take over the baton and strive towards the economic freedom and inclusivity that the country needs” said Mathale, “As the Department of Small Business Development we conducted consultations across the country in 2016 with key role players in the small enterprise development ecosystem including small business owners. These consultations led to the conclusion that there is a definite need to increase incubation support to small businesses and cooperatives particularly to underserviced areas such as the Gert Sibande District”
“As government we would like economic opportunities to be developed where they are needed most, especially in rural and township areas. By putting these into effect the department and its partners would be providing small enterprises and cooperatives with the support instruments they need to overcome the challenges they face on a daily basis” continued Mathale, “The youth unemployment rate in the district stands at 38.4%, with a significant portion of the affected youth being graduates who have completed their Higher Education Training with the institutions in the district.”
“We should also not lose sight of the key challenges the community here in Evander and other surrounding communities are facing, which are unemployment, poverty and inequality. We would like the youth to be at the forefront of dealing with these challenges, and this centre is adequately resourced to be able to reverse these ills.” Said Mathale in closing his address, “Our efforts as government would be fruitless unless young people are the primary beneficiaries of initiatives like this.”
This centre will service TVET college graduates, entrepreneurs in Evander, surrounding townships and the greater Gert Sibande District Municipality, focusing specifically on youth.
The CfERI was necessitated by the lack of opportunities for the youth, in particular, graduates from Gert Sibande TVET College and lack of enterprise development facilities in the area.
Speaking during the re-launch, DM Mathale said that the department of small business development through its agency, SEDA, is driving this initiative with a sole aim to stimulate and nurture innovation amongst these graduates, whose ideas can be turned into sustainable enterprises and cooperatives. Hopefully, this would turn these graduates into job creators in the economy of the district.
The Centres for Entrepreneurship and Rapid Incubator (CfERI) bring institutions of higher learning and enterprise development agencies closer to young entrepreneurs and communities with limited access to small enterprise development services, making these much-needed services more accessible to these target groups.
Mr Sofrimento Zulu, Chairperson of Afri-Future which is a Cooperative of Gert Sibande TVET College students, said that they are thrilled to have been part of the CfERI and they hope that government will avail support beyond their exit from the incubation programme as they embark on their journey to be independent entrepreneurs.
Gert Sibande TVET College has developed relationships with local municipalities’ Local Economic Development (LED) Units, Small Medium and Micro Enterprises, SOE’s and SETAs in the critical area of skills development and entrepreneurship development. Together with these partners the CfERI will tap into key local economic activities in most sectors including but not limited to Engineering, Mining, Agriculture and Hospitality Service Industries.
The CfE/Rapid Incubator programme is designed to develop viable innovative ideas into small enterprises over a period of 18 months. The programme is split into two parts: the first being six months of theoretical education, and the second part being 12-months business accelerator in which start-up enterprises will be developed following a structured business development service continuum.
Gert Sibande CFERI is the latest of 12 CFERIs to be officially launched in South Africa. Other CFERIs that have been officially launched: Eastern Cape: ICFE (Chris Hani Cooperative Development Agency, Queenstown); Eastern Cape: (Lovedale TVET College, Alice); KwaZulu Natal (Esayidi TVET College, Port Shepstone); Gauteng (Ekurhuleni West TVET College); Northern Cape (Northern Cape Rural TVET College, De Aar); Northern Cape (Vaal University of Technology, Upington); Limpopo (Vhembe TVET College, Venda); Western Cape (False Bay TVET College, Cape Town); Free State (Motheo TVET, Bloemfontein); Free State (Goldfields TVET, Welkom) and North West (Orbit TVET College, Mogwase).

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