Western Cape Government | 13 July 2023
Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, and provinical Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger, had the pleasure of joining the Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN), one of the organisations currently funded through the Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s SMME Booster Fund. The visit was part of a showcase of the work done with four of its partner SMMEs in Langa this week.
BEN’s objective is to promote sustainable social and economic empowerment by ensuring a reliable supply of donated and affordable bicycles to disadvantaged communities and institutions.
“Skills development comes in many forms and BEN not only understood this but also embraced this reality. The organisation has for years been building on its own skills upliftment capabilities, with the aim of embedding itself in communities where skills development will have the most impact,” said Premier Winde.
Minister Wenger added, “The Western Cape Government is on a mission to achieve break-out economic growth by enabling the private sector to grow, and thereby, to create many more jobs in the province. This is the heart of our bold new economic action plan, Growth for Jobs. Which is why it was truly wonderful to see the positive impact the SMME Booster Fund is having on enabling township-based business to get set up and to thrive. I particularly enjoyed speaking with some of the young people employed by Cloudy Deliveries, who deliver groceries directly to people’s homes in and around Langa.”
With the funding provided by the SMME Booster Fund, BEN is providing basic mechanic training to young bike mechanics in four local businesses, including Cloudy Deliveries, Langa Bicycle Hub, iKhaya le Langa, and Langa Pump Track initiative. BEN is also supplying new bikes to both Cloudy Deliveries and the Langa Pump Track initiative.
“Its aim to empower particularly young people with skills in the field of bicycle maintenance speaks to the growing realisation of the importance of this mode of transport in our province in connecting communities to economic opportunities and decongesting our roads. Our role as government is to create an environment that allows organisations like BEN and its initiatives to keep growing. This is the backbone to our Growth for Jobs Strategy. It is an honour to be able to help BEN and its partners in building up skills in a form of transport, a pastime and sport that is very close to my heart.” said Premier Winde.
“Since 2019, this programme has assisted 860 SMMEs, thereby helping to sustain 4 977 jobs. In addition to this, the Booster Fund has also helped these SMMEs to grow, creating an additional 651 jobs. Applications for the 2023 iteration of Fund closed on Monday this week and I look forward to announcing the successful organisations soon as we continue to support entrepreneurs and SMMEs as the driving force behind economic growth and job creation in the Western Cape and South Africa,” concluded Minister Wenger.
‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.