SAIPA partners with Absa to support SMEs

SAIPA partners with Absa  to support SMEs

A partnership between the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA), Absa Bank, the City of Johannesburg and several other partners, resulted in the launch of the Absa Enterprise Development Centre (EDC)  in Newtown, Johannesburg, yesterday . The center was officially opened by the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Councillor Parks Tau, and the Chairperson of Barclays Africa Group, Ms. Wendy Lucas-Bull, and will play a crucial role in the development of the province’s SME sector. The objective of the center is to “increase cooperation in the development of small businesses through the transfer of skills essential to the survival of SMEs such as financial literacy, record keeping, and developing business growth strategies[1]”.

“Only two of seven start-up businesses in South Africa survive beyond the first year, which points to a desperate need for skills and knowledge to take an idea from concept to fruition. Basic business and financial management skills, particularly, are lacking,” explained Faith Ngwenya,Technical and Standards Executive at SAIPA.

SAIPA has enlisted the help of some of its Professional Accountant (SA)  and Tax Practitioner (SA) members to share their knowledge and transfer their skills to aspirant business people registered with the center , thus improving their prospects of business sustainability.

Says Ngwenya: “Our partnership was founded on a commitment to encouraging growth and development of the SME sector, which has the greatest potential of any sector to create the employment opportunities so crucial to economic and social well being.

“We are proud to be associated with the EDC and congratulate Absa on establishing a facility that addresses the lack of support and guidance provided to those who will become the backbone of South Africa’s economic growth into the future.“

Wendy Lucas-Bull, Chairman of Barclays Africa Group, said: “The goal we have set ourselves in the SME sector requires us to be more than simply a financier of new start-ups. It requires us to play a meaningful role by supporting entrepreneurs beyond just their financial needs. Funding is of course vitally important, hence our R250 million commitment this year to help SME businesses prosper that typically would not meet normal lending criteria.

Absa now operates eight Centres of Entrepreneurship across South Africa. The Newtown centre is the flagship and sets a new standard that will inform the way in which the other Entrepreneurship centres will be remodelled