Gauteng government launches SMME incubation hub in West Rand

The Gauteng Department of Economic Development (GDED), alongside development partners Mogale City and Lepharo, on October 21 unveiled the Mogale City Incubation Hub in the heart of the Munsieville township, in Krugersdorp.

The hub is focused on incubating small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs) active in brick and block manufacturing and services, which particularly serve construction and mining value chains.

The R13-million hub is helping young people access jobs, skills and training, which can significantly expand the size of the local economy.

With R60-billion worth of infrastructure projects in the pipeline, the West Rand region is poised to hold ample supplier opportunities.

During the launch event of the hub, GDED head Blake Lefatola said his entity aimed to establish a West Rand Special Economic Zone (WRSEZ), which would mimic the model of, and the success achieved thus far, by the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone.

While talks around a WRSEZ are still in their infancy, the GDED aims to focus the development on agriculture and agroprocessing, as well as renewable energy.

Lefatola mentioned that the Mogale City Incubation Hub aligned with the core objectives of the GDED’s Growing Gauteng Together 2030 (GGT2030) initiative, which was aimed at investing in the township economy to create future industrialists and empower young people in the province.

The unemployment rate in Gauteng sits at 36%, while the province’s youth unemployment rate averages 44%. Of the total number of unemployed people, women comprise 60%.

Lefatola said the GGT2030 was prioritising its efforts in high-growth sectors, including constructionenergy, agriculture, information and communication technologytourismlogistics and transportation, manufacturing and financial services.

Meanwhile, the Mogale City Incubation Hub is a culmination of efforts from manufacturing incubation centre Lepharo, cement manufacturer PPC, the Mogale City local municipality, the South African Bureau of Standards, the GGT2030, the Harambee Youth Empowerment Accelerator and Tshepo 1Million.

PPC inland business unit head Bheko Mthembu said in a press statement that the company was happy, as technical partner, to participate in the project, which had equipped young businesses and young people with the requisite skills to succeed in a complex industry and economy.

So far, 15 SMMEs have been established within the hub. SMMEs had to meet specifications of being 100% black-owned, women-owned or youth-owned.

Lefatola noted that one of the SMMEs was a steel producer, which he hoped would grow to compete with primary steel producers in the region in future.

“Small business is the future of this economy, because if your brick making company can hire one or ten young people to work for you, this will, without a doubt, remedy joblessness and build a thriving economy,” said Harambee COO Mosuoe Sekonyela.

Lepharo chairperson Mongezi Veti agreed, pointing out that the best performing economies of the world used SMMEs as the bedrock and engines of economic growth.

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