The Free State Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) Development Initiative is an ambitious programme aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and stimulating small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development as a means for economic development and employment creation in the Free State Province of South Africa. The choice to make this province the focal point of this initiative was driven by the extreme challenges the provincial government faces in terms of unemployment and poverty and the bleak future faced by many of the province’s youth. The province currently records the highest unemployment rate in the country among the adult working population. More than 30% of this population is unemployed and estimates are that youth unemployment in the age group of 15 to 34 is as high as 50%.
While we can provide business management support and facilitate access to finance, invaluable assistance, such as mentorship and coaching, is best given by industry and business leaders who can help steer young entrepreneurs onto a path toward success. We therefore want to invite business leaders to contribute to the Challenge in a number of different ways but ensure that this works within the boundaries of busy schedules and available resources.
1. Help us to identify areas for business development in the Free State. For example, we invite innovative national and multi-national companies to post their opportunities to accelerate or expand the distribution of their products or services and let us help partner them with a local entrepreneur. Please click here to register and post your ideas on our idea page. We will then invite entrepreneurs in the Province to consider how they can best work together with you and develop a sustainable business model.
2. Help us to stimulate a new business venture or expand your existing businesses through a franchise arrangement or other business subsidiary model in partnership with a local entrepreneur.
We encourage you to post your ideas directly on our Idea Page Forum.