MTN Business today announced a new drive to help support the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and contribute to creating sustainable entities.
The MTN Business’ new and ambitious programme will see it provide a R2.5 million per annum grant to an SME empowerment programme, the National Gazelles for the next three years.
The National Gazelles is a flagship programme of the Department of Small Business Development and its main delivery agency, the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA). The programme identifies a group of 40 businesses every year to benefit from an integrated business development programme aimed at accelerating their growth.
The three year partnership will initially comprise of grants to high-potential SMEs in the ICT sector, along with services to be provided by MTN Business to the selected entrepreneurs. Grants will be used to boost growth through asset funding, supporting market access and innovation.
The total value of the three year grant to the National Gazelles by MTN Business is R7.5 million.
This will help contribute towards the South African Government’s goal of developing interventions that are aimed at assisting SMEs to expand and become sustainable. This commitment is also part of the MTN Business vision of positioning itself as an ICT partner of choice and equip SMEs to fuel economic growth in South Africa. The National Gazelles is one of the flagship programmes the Department of Small Business Development will be embarking on for the next three years.
MTN Business SA Chief Enterprise Business Officer, Alpheus Mangale says: “The future of the South African economy hinges on SME’s growth and sustainability. Through this R7.5 million grant to National Gazelles, we want to nurture high potential SMEs to grow, and ultimately boost economic growth and create jobs.
“Through our MTN Business Partner Programme, we are interested in developing a global trusted partner eco-system to accelerate joint profitable growth with strategic partners, SMEs and start-ups, and through this commitment to the National Gazelles we hope to contribute towards the South African Government’s goal to grow the SMEs market.”
The Acting Chief Executive of SEDA, Mr Lusapho Njenge, said he believed MTN Business’ commitment to the National Gazelles signalled the start of further private sector involvement in the programme.
“The National Gazelles offers a unique platform for companies to make a significant enterprise development impact in their own sector. By joining us in supporting these identified high-potential SMEs, industry leaders can grow future suppliers, discover and nurture new innovations in their sectors, and benefit from the co-ordinated approach that the Gazelles programme offers. We would like to thank MTN Business for their commitment to supporting the National Gazelles. The ICT sector is one of the most critical sectors for SME’s growth, and this joint public-private partnership will give much needed capacity to the Gazelles.”
The National Gazelles programme aims to make a significant short, medium and long-term impact on the growth acceleration of a significant national cohort of high-potential SMEs. Through this programme every year 40 finalists are selected. These are high-potential entrepreneurs, who are earmarked to receive special support, opportunities and benefits to help them grow their enterprises.