Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Sefa forced to review its business model after sustaining heavy losses

The Small Enterprise Finance Agency, Sefa, presented its annual report to Parliament on Wednesday. CEO Thakhani Makhuvha hit the nail on the head when he said “cash is king” in business.

He was referring to his cash-hungry clients, thousands of small and micro businesses for whom a cash injection from Sefa is often the only thing that keeps them going. But he could have been referring to his own organisation, which is bleeding cash at an alarming rate.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Press Statement: DA reply reveals government’s failure to budget for important Small Business fund

Democratic Alliance press statement by

Toby Chance MPDA Shadow Minister of Small Business Development 
Release: Immediate 

22 September 2016

In a reply to a DA oral question, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted that government had not yet budgeted for its half of the funds to match the private sector’s contribution of R1,5 billion to the SA SME Fund. This is telling of government’s stance to be all talk without any tangible action in creating jobs.

The SA SME Fund is a joint venture capital fund between the private sector and government where the aim is to bolster the creation of jobs through supporting the growth of SMEs, which will ultimately create jobs. These joint ventures therefore serve as the engine room for creating jobs in South Africa.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Chance Glassworks Heritage Trust - a new chapter in the history of Chance Brothers

Last year I was approached by a group of business people, historians and leaders in civil society in the UK's West Midlands to accept the position of Patron of the Chance Glassworks Heritage Trust. It did not take me long to agree.

The Trust has been formed to preserve and redevelop what remains of the once famous site of the Chance Brothers Limited glassworks in Smethwick, founded by my great great great uncle Robert Lucas Chance in 1824. My grandfather, Sir Hugh Chance, was the last family member to chair the company before it was taken over by long-term rival Pilkingtons. The factory poured its last glass and finally closed its doors in 1981.

Since then the site has fallen into disrepair but many of its Grade 2 listed buildings are still standing and cannot be demolished. The trustees have a grand vision to restore the buildings and add new ones, including a full scale lighthouse in recognition of what is probably Chance Brothers' greatest achievement, the manufacture of over 2500 optics for lighthouses and other aids to navigation supplied to nearly 100 countries across the globe.

The site will have multi-purpose usage including offices, a hotel and conference centre, a small business incubator and innovation hub and affordable housing units. Situated in a very depressed former industrial part of the UK, the site will offer opportunities for entrepreneurship, technological innovation and social renewal which are much in keeping with the ethos that sustained Chance Brothers during its 157 year history.

The Trust recently launched its website which you can find here. I and the trustees would be happy to hear from anyone who has an interest in its activities or wishes to donate time, money or resources to this worthy cause.

History West Midlands magazine has been championing the Trust in its publications and website - see here for their recent newsletter.

HWM has also just published a special edition on the 1851 Great Exhibition, which was housed in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park. This iconic building was glazed by over 900 000 square feet of glass made in Chance Brothers's Smethwick glassworks, and was where James Timmins Chance, my great great grandfather, exhibited the firm's first dioptric lighthouse apparatus. For more information on the firm's lighthouse business, visit my website here.

A day in the life of an MP, and: Are we heading for a seismic shift in SA’s political landscape?

The August 3rd municipal elections are behind us and we are in the midst of an unprecedented period of gamesmanship by the contenders for power in over twenty hung municipalities and metros throughout the country. The outcome of negotiations to form coalitions, particularly in Johannesburg, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay and Ekurhuleni, could well determine South Africa's future and certainly influence voting patterns in the 2019 provincial and national elections. 

It is against this backdrop that I am publishing a talk I gave at my church three weeks ago, as the topic of political realignment is very much on people's minds now. 

A day in the life of an MP, and:
Are we heading for a seismic shift in SA’s political landscape?
A discussion evening hosted by the Centre for Christian Spirituality
Led by Toby Chance MP
St George’s Anglican Church, Parktown, Johannesburg
20th July 2016 

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Press statement: Government no closer to launch of venture capital fund earmarked for job creation

Democratic Alliance press statement by Toby Chance MP DA Shadow Minister of Small Business Development

13 July 2016
Release: immediate 

In replies to parliamentary questions from the DA, neither Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan nor Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu, could provide substantive details on the mandate, composition, governance structures, funding, board of directors or launch date of the venture capital fund that President Zuma announced to much fanfare on 09 May, over two months ago. 

This means that the job creation promised by this venture capital fund will be stalled because of government’s hollow commitment to placing job creation at the apex of its agenda. 

Monday, 13 June 2016

DA mayoral candidate for Tshwane Solly Msimanga pickets outside the Department of Small Business Development

This morning, the DA staged a picket outside the offices of the DSBD at the DTI Campus in Hatfield, Pretoria protesting the high levels of unemployment in the city and the Department's failure to fulfil its mandate to bring it down by supporting small businesses.

Sadly I could not attend as I was at an event in Joburg where our mayoral candidate, Herman Mashaba, introduced all our ward and PR candidates to the media.

Below is Solly's hard-hitting speech which includes some practical and immediate steps he would take on being elected the DA mayor of Tshwane.

Update on the township industrial parks - very slow progress to resolve the issue

One of the issues I have taken up since my appointment as Shadow Minister of Small Business Development is the appalling neglect of the township industrial parks in Gauteng. These were set up in the early to mid 1980's by the Small Business Development Corporation, a joint venture between government and the private sector headed by Anton Rupert's Rembrandt Group. They were an attempt to get around the Group Areas Act, which prevented blacks from owning businesses in areas designated for whites, which was where the economy of South African was concentrated.

For some background on the parks, read this piece I wrote for Politicsweb here as well as this blog post here.