Masisizane Fund honours successful Eastern Cape SMMEs

The drought-afflicted Eastern Cape is reporting 0,3% negative growth in GDP and a shrinking agriculture sector, but that is not deterring its most enterprising people from fighting hard to overcome the challenges and contribute positively to the economy.

“Often where there is adversity, there is opportunity, as the SMMEs in the Eastern Cape have brilliantly demonstrated. They are playing a critical role in strengthening local economies,” said Zizipho Nyanga, CEO of the Masisizane Fund. Statistics recently released by the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) confirm Nyanga’s sentiments. It reports that the contribution of SMMEs to GDP is growing and currently just under 60%.

With this in mind, the Masisizane Fund will be celebrating the successes of these entrepreneurs in their fourth provincial awards to be held this week. The Fund supports SMMEs in urban and peri-rural areas and is strongly biased towards female and youth black businesses, a criterion that is aligned directly to the National Development Plan (NDP).

Since 2011, the non-profit organisation has provided loan financing, business support, and mentorship to the region’s SMMEs, creating close to 1 800 jobs. Between 2011 and 2016 the Masisizane Fund invested over R147,9 million and by 2016 the total loan approved amount in this region alone was R 32 million. This included more than R4 million invested in female owned businesses; and R9 million invested in businesses owned by youth, women and people with disabilities.

Nyanga adds, “We believe that the entrepreneurs driving these young businesses require a partner that is willing to progress alongside them. Our common goal is to eradicate poverty through job creation.”

As the Masisizane Fund approaches its 10th anniversary, Nyanga says they would like to celebrate the success the Fund has enjoyed, and showcase the legacy it has built over the past decade. “We are also looking forward to a bright future – including more job creation, further boosting economic growth and transformation, and achieving more significant milestones on the journey ahead.”

The Eastern Cape awards event celebrated the following SMME winners for excelling in their categories:
  • Best Female Owned Business Award: Lwahluma Investments
  • Best Youth Owned Business Award: Star of Azania
  • Best Employer Award: Mancotech
  • Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Habitat Modular
  • Business of the Year Award: WP Timber Projects
Nyanga concludes, “We are looking forward to a meaningful celebration in July, the month that marks a decade of the fund’s contribution to the South African economy. At a time of slow growth our impact is definitely felt by individuals, families, communities and local economies.”