SEDA offers business advice in Hangberg

The group of Hangberg business owners who attended the Small Enterprise Development Agency engagement workshop.

One of the biggest challenges facing small businesses is expanding beyond their own communities Hangberg business people heard at a workshop last week.

About 20 people – most from the catering, fishing, construction and security industries – took part in the workshop, where they heard from Carlette Egypt, a business adviser from the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA).

She answered their questions about how the organisation could help them grow their businesses.

Local businessman Angelo Joseph had asked Ms Egypt to speak to the community, as there was a feeling that Hangberg was overlooked when it came to business development projects.

Ms Egypt said small businesses were often well known in their communities, but venturing into the wider world could be daunting.

“Say, for example, you want to cater for an event outside your community.

“You will have to be compliant with existing rules and regulations in order to carry out this service,” she said.

“For this reason, you need to submit specific documents, including your ID, tax-clearance certificate and your company registration number. If you are doing food, you also need to get a required health certificate. You can’t do business with the state if you are not registered with the state.”

While Seda couldn’t give direct financial support to small businesses – that’s the job of the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) – it could help them build a corporate identity.

“We work with a group of registered service providers who can come up with a marketing plan for you, and we will also provide business cards. Seda will cover between 60% and 90% of these costs, and you will have to supply the rest.”

The internet had made the registration process relatively easy.

“The upside of registering your own business is you can put in your own details online, so there is less chance of mistakes being made.”

Ms Egypt explained the difference between a quotation and a tender – the former is an amount below R250 000, the latter is more than that – and advised those on social and disability grants to start small businesses.

It was also vital for business people to keep track of their expenses.

“Seda will know that you are trading when you provide us with an income statement. For this reason, it is important that you take note of all your expenses, and you must keep your bank account open and active. When looking for funding, I would recommend always going to the bank first before going to SEFA.”