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Xoliswa Kali | 15 April 2024

The Gibela Business Incubator is one of 110 incubators and hubs supported by Seda.

The Minister for Small Business Development, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, officially launched the Gibela Business Incubator on Wednesday at the Kwa-Thema Business Park.

The incubator aims to create an environment enabling small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs) to grow and become sustainable by providing affordable space, business support, and market opportunities.

It is a partnership between the Gibela Rail Transport Consortium, the City of Ekurhuleni (CoE) and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda).

The incubator provides business and technical development services to qualifying entrepreneurs and small businesses operating in Kwa-Thema, Nigel, Springs, and the greater Ekurhuleni area to mitigate the risk of failure in the early stages of start-ups.

SMMEs in various sectors with high employment potential – including mining, manufacturing, engineering and ICT– will leave the incubator’s three-year programme with badges of full compliance, market readiness and self-sustaining businesses.

The Gibela Business Incubator is one of the 110 incubators and hubs supported by Seda.

It advances the mandate of the Department of Small Business Development, which is to lead and coordinate an integrated approach to promoting and developing entrepreneurship, SMMEs, and co-operatives, as well as to ensure an enabling legislative and policy environment to support their growth and sustainability.

In her keynote address, Ndabeni-Abrahams said, “Today’s launch of Gibela Business Incubator is another testament to our resolve to transform small businesses into real game-changers and catalysts for economic growth and job creation.”

The incubator’s programme focuses on boosting local employment, fostering gender equality and the economic inclusion of women and youth, and facilitating interventions in the green economy.

It provides physical and virtual incubation support to all qualifying enterprises, generating innovative solutions in the engineering, green tech, IT-related and manufacturing sectors.

The incubator takes a particular interest in entrepreneurs and small enterprises that could become suppliers in the Gibela Rail Transport Consortium value chain. In addition, it strives to boost economies in communities surrounding Gibela’s plant in Dunnottar.

The first cohort of enterprises was admitted in January 2021, of which 100% are black-owned businesses, 49% are women-owned businesses, 35% are youth-owned businesses, and 2% are businesses owned by persons with disabilities.

Since its inception, the participating SMMEs have generated almost R20m in turnover and created 121 jobs.

The incubator has assisted incubatees in accessing R10.3m in funding for their businesses, including more than R2m, through a memorandum of agreement with the Small Enterprise Finance Agency.

Since its inception, the Gibela Rail Consortium committed R10.2m in partnership funding. The National Youth Development Agency has funded the youth-owned enterprises in the Gibela Business Incubation programme.

Seda has provided the centre with strategic support, funding, and expertise to deliver a successful incubation programme.

At the launch, five enterprises from various sectors, including baking and confectionary, ICT, beauty, and cosmetics, graduated from the programme.

These enterprises are market-ready after a series of interventions during their incubation period. These include testing and approving their products and accessing machinery through Seda and various business support services.

The graduate business owners include Dimpho Mashilo, Louis Mtsweni, Senzeni Tjameya and Lebogang Skosana.

“What we have been able to achieve in the last three years has been truly remarkable,” said the CEO of the Gibela Business Incubator, Justine Mogashoa.

The launch event included an SMME exhibition where participating businesses showcased their products, services, and expertise.

The work of the Gibela Business Incubator supports the government’s Economic Reconstruction and Development Plan to build a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive economy.

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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