South African Minister of Small Business Developement Lindiwe Zulu celebrated the University of the Western Cape’s decision to develop and enhance the skills of entrepreneurs on campus and in the surrounding communities.
The 2014 Chancellor’s Roundtable provided a platform where different stakeholders such as government, business, community and the education sector could share critical insights and opinions related to the country’s economic development agenda.
The key Roundtable participants were: the Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu; Dean of UWC’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Professor Kobus Visser; South African Small Medium Enterprises Federation (SASMEF) representative, Carl J Lotter; UWC Chancellor, Archbishop Dr Thabo Makgoba, and Charleen Duncan, Project Manager of UWC’s Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI).
Minister Lindiwe Zulu began her address by saying that the Department of Small Business Development believes that SME development is a major tool of job and wealth creation, and supports the call for more entrepreneurial universities such as UWC. In developing countries, she noted that more than two-thirds of all jobs now originate from small- and medium-sized enterprises. In industrialised nations, evidence indicates that entrepreneurships education and training at school level play important roles in the contribution to economic growth.
Zulu said that entrepreneurship education and training must fulfil a primary role in preparing our youth for the future. She went on to say that initiatives like the CEI are great as they drive entrepreneurship and help develop the next generation of entrepreneurship employers and job creators.
“We believe also that the contribution of small- to medium-sized enterprises to the growth of our country can be much higher if entrepreneurship education is implemented at school and tertiary levels,”she said.
“UWC’s plan to encourage entrepreneurship is most welcome as it is one of the ways entrepreneurship can be shown to be a viable career path as we continue to build a nation of entrepreneurs.”
She went on to mention the importance universities play in the success of South African SMEs.
“The role of tertiary institutions as partners, particularly universities, in meeting the challenge of self-employment as the option to unemployment is crucial if the institutional constraints within the current legislative framework are to be tackled for appropriate policy changes. The necessary attitudinal shifts required to facilitate a wider implementation of entrepreneurship support structures are also important for government to play a role as facilitator.”
She said through entrepreneurship, and harnessing the energy and innovation of youth, there is an opportunity to lift the quantity and quality of jobs, and to generate inclusive and sustainable growth.
“Government cannot do it alone. Government, big business and academic institutions need to forge partnerships to create a conducive regulatory environment for the growth and development of small business and co-operatives.”