Monday, 25 August 2014

Entrepreneur training for grade 9s in Soweto, and a self-identity for Africans

On Saturday I attended an inspiring event organised by ORT SA and sponsored by Absa, at the Pace Commercial High School in Zola, Soweto. It was the launch of ORT SA's Ready for Life programme, which "will train pupils from Grade 9 through to Grade 11 to enable them to create a sustainable livelihood by teaching them how to run their own business." I was invited by Peta Broomberg when I met her and the CEO Ariellah Rosenberg at their offices to discuss ORT's programmes and their relevance to small business development.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Zuma must account to Parliament and stop evading justice

As I sat listening to Jacob Zuma answering written and follow up questions in Parliament yesterday I experienced a welling up of anger and frustration at the dire state we have reached in this country and our seeming powerlessness to do something about it. At a time when South Africa is facing multiple challenges its president is nowhere to be seen. Zuma is president in name only. His presidential duties are obscured under a massive pile of dung that has accumulated through his own making and is now poisoning our polity. This putrefying mass of denial, corruption, incompetence, cronyism and non-accountability is what has become of the Zuma sham presidency.

This is how we must interpret yesterday's antics in the House, when the EFF were ejected for calling on Zuma to repay the money he 'stole' from the taxpayer to build his Nkandla residence. The EFF refused to budge, forcing the Speaker to suspend the sitting and call in the police.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Three giants of enterprise, choice and freedom

Parliament reconvened yesterday after a two week break, for the third term of the year which lasts until September 22nd. My day did not start well, with the 7 am British Airways flight being offloaded due to a radio malfunction. Our replacement Kulula plane took off at 10:30 so I lost half the morning, which was irritating. But things looked up, after I'd dumped my bags in my office and joined Jamie Turkington, Helen Zille's Chief of Staff in the party leader's office, for a light lunch at Doppio in St George's Mall. We had got to know each other during the election campaign when he was seconded to run communications for Mmusi Maimane in his bid to topple the ANC in Gauteng. Though that turned out to be a bridge too far we learned a lot and like me he is now in a new job and enjoying the challenge.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Small business finance and the collapse of African Bank

With the Reserve Bank putting African Bank into curatorship on Monday the issue of micro loans is once more hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Micro loans are typically spoken of as personal loans but a growing number are issued to small business owners who can’t get finance through the big banks, mainly because they don’t have collateral.

Ward 32 by-election - a hard fought contest with victory for the DA

On Wednesday there were two by-elections in Johannesburg necessitated by the election of councillors Gordon Mackay (ward 90) and Darren Bergman (32) to Parliament as MPs. All constituencies in South Gauteng were asked to help out with canvassing and mine, Soweto West, was allocated Ward 32 which covers an area in north eastern Joburg including Linbro Park, Modderfontein, the northeastern tip of Alexandra, Greenstone, Buccleuch and Klipfontein View in Midrand. It's a very mixed ward demographically speaking, and Darren won it against the odds by a couple of hundred votes in the 2011 municipal elections. It was vital we retained it with an increased majority. Ward 90 is a safe DA ward so we expected to win it comfortably.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Minister Zulu must target film industry as strategic industry

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

Minister Zulu must target film industry as strategic industry

13 August 2014
Release: immediate

The DA calls upon Minister Lindiwe Zulu to target the film production industry as a strategic industry for job creation in South Africa by establishing sector specific business incubators for small and medium enterprises within the film production sector. 

This follows an announcement by the Minister of Trade & Industry, Rob Davies,  to lower the threshold for film production companies claiming rebates for films produced in South Africa. 

Friday, 8 August 2014

Department of Small Business Development needs a strong captain at the helm

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

Department of Small Business Development needs a strong captain at the helm

08 August 2014
Release: immediate

reply to a recent DA Parliamentary question reveals that the Department of Small Business Development continues to struggle with formulating an effective mandate and policy direction, crucial for justifying its existence as a new Ministry, and for growing effective support for small business enterprises.

According to the reply, the Minister will assess the “existing policy areas that inform the mandate of my department” and support the implementation of programmes for “access to finance, business skills development, market access, competitiveness, easing regulatory environment, and advancing localisation.”

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

People doing what they are passionate about

Now that we have a fortnight's break from Parliament, this week I have filled my diary with meetings with all sorts of people, all one way or another connected to small business development and entrepreneurship. It started on Saturday at the Soweto Arts & Crafts Fair and Sunday at the showing of the Step up 2 a Start Up film at Eastgate. Yesterday I met Pierre van den Hoven who told me about his just-launched mobile video app, Tuluntulu, which is at the cusp of a revolution in they way we watch TV. Today I was introduced to three completely different enterprises, run by tight-knit teams of dedicated and passionate people who care deeply for South Africa and have chosen their own ways of making a difference.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Step up 2 a Start up

Yesterday I made an early start to the day and drove to Eastgate Mall to attend an inspiring viewing of the new film produced for Primestars' innovative Step up 2 a Start up entrepreneurship programme. Devised by the irrepressible Martin Sweet, the programme is aimed at inculcating a culture of entrepreneurship among grades 10, 11 and 12 learners as they prepare for the world of work.

Sue Schneider from Gearhouse, Toby Chance, Robyn O'Leary from 3M and Martin Sweet from Primestars with a group of learners.   Photos courtesy Colin O'Leary

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Soweto Arts & Crafts Fair

Yesterday I visited the Soweto Arts & Crafts Fair which takes place on the first Saturday of every month at the Soweto Theatre in Jabulani, right next to the Jabulani Mall. It's the brainchild of Tsepo, Mbali and Simphiwe who are young artists and entrepreneurs wanting to make a difference in their community especially in the field they know well.

My visit served two purposes: mingling with residents in the constituency that is now confirmed as mine - Soweto West, which comprises 10 wards including Ward 34 where the market is located; and second, fulfilling my role as the DA Spokesman on Small Business Development.