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Global Entrepreneurship Congress 2017 - Minister Zulu on SMMEs

“The South African economy needs scalable SMMEs that can grow at an exponential rate. This is critical to helping government achieve its objectives of reducing unemployment,” said Small Business Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu


Speaking at the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) held in Johannesburg from the 13th of March, Zulu reiterated the critical role that small businesses play towards job creation and economic development. As one of the sponsors of the 2017 GEC, the IDC was part of the more than 45 exhibitors that took advantage of the event to demonstrate its commitment to supporting entrepreneurship. 

In line with the National Development Plan (NDP), which is government’s economic blue print, Zulu said local SMMEs need to grow by 20% per annum in order create at least 800,000 jobs by 2030. Billed as the largest entrepreneur gathering attracting investors, policy makers and researchers, the 2017 GEC attracted more than 7000 delegates drawn from well over 165 countries. With almost every industry disrupted by technology, the 2017 GEC was aptly themed 'Digital Disruption'.  While the Minister acknowledged various challenges facing SMMEs locally and abroad including access to capital, Zulu called on entrepreneurs to be ingenuous in the face of globalisation.

Speaking earlier when he delivered his keynote address to delegates, Deputy President Cyril

Ramaphosa urged small businesses to embrace digital disruption arguing that this phenomenon 

had become a cornerstone of  modern and diversified economies. 

Gamuchirai Mutezo, chief operations officer of research group SEA Africa which is also the custodian of the Global Entrepreneurship Network – South Africa (GEN-SA) chapter, urged entrepreneurs across Africa to brace for digital disruption. 

“Digital disruption is where the continent is headed. As such, we need to prepare our entrepreneurs by way of coaching and mentoring them in manner that readies them to overcome such challenges,” he added.

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