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Centre of Entrepreneurship opens in Newtown

JOBURG - Absa has opened an entrepreneurship centre in Newtown, Johannesburg.

Absa has opened an entrepreneurship centre in Newtown, Johannesburg, in collaboration with various private and public partners including the City of Johannesburg.

This initiative is in addition to the R250 million in non-traditional lending that Absa committed to in 2013 aimed entirely at the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector in South Africa.

Chairperson of Barclays Africa Group, Wendy Lucas-Bull said, “The goal we have set ourselves in the SME sector requires us to be more than simply a financier of new start-ups. It requires us to play a meaningful role by supporting entrepreneurs beyond just their financial needs.”

City of Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau said at the opening the private and public sector co-operation with Absa to keep Small and Medium Enterprises in business would contribute

significantly to growth and development. He highlighted the significance of capitalising on Newtown’s history as the hub of business exchange and the original centre of Johannesburg.

The objective of the entrepreneurship centre is to focus on the transfer of skills such as financial literacy, knowledge sharing, mentorship, networking opportunities, infrastructure and human resources expertise.

Absa said it recognises that a lack of business management skills was a major factor behind the failure of many Small and Medium Enterprises; these issues would be addressed and the centre – along with seven other existing centres – and will also provide infrastructure such as computers with internet access. The Newtown centre is the flagship centre and sets a new standard that will inform the way in which the other centres will be remodelled.

An Absa procurement portal, which is a virtual marketplace, will link Small and Medium Enterprise suppliers with Blue Chip companies and government bodies to encourage corporates to buy more services and products from these enterprises. To date there are over 19 000 Small and Medium Enterprises, with 3 000 corporate buyers registered and actively using the portal.

Absa considers Small and Medium Enterprises as the lifeblood of a thriving economy and given the right levels of support, they can make a significant contribution to the government’s ambition of creating five million more jobs by 2020.

Other partners in the project include Telkom, Microsoft, Sars, South African Breweries, and Proudly South African, among others.

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One Comment

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