The Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) and Standard Bank have partnered to launch the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Export Incubator, aimed at providing training and mentoring to enable small businesses to export their products and services.
The Johannesburg-based incubator will host a three-year programme co-funded by the JCCI, Standard Bank and Giz to the tune of ZAR6 million (US$430,000). Currently hosting 15 businesses, it has capacity to house 40 in total.
Speaking at the launch event, trade and industry minister Rob Davies said the new incubator supported two objectives of the South African government: incubation rollout and export promotion.
“This move will require small enterprises to know their business and what is required for them to be able to move up the value chain. We have engaged chambers of commerce and industry regarding building on their membership to take SMEs to higher levels,” said Davies.
“We want to give businesses a “passport” which will ensure that they are ready to export so when we take them on international missions, they are actually ready to export their products to those markets.”
He said the incubator programme was welcomed because it was an initiative supported by industry and not reliant on government funding, and urged other industry players to do the same in order to grow small businesses.