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SMMEs in agriculture sector share their experiences at the BIDC’s accelerator event

Publication Date: 
Monday, February 10, 2020

The CSIR Biomanufacturing Industrial Development Centre (BIDC) held its quarterly accelerator networking event at the CSIR on the 31st January 2020. This platform provides small medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) an opportunity to openly exchange ideas and share experiences on their journey to becoming entrepreneurs.

Lara Kotze

Contact Person

Lara Kotze

+27 12 841 4634

lkotze@csir.co.za

The CSIR Biomanufacturing Industrial Development Centre (BIDC) held its quarterly accelerator networking event at the CSIR on the 31st January 2020. This platform provides small medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) an opportunity to openly exchange ideas and share experiences on their journey to becoming entrepreneurs.

Invited as a key-note speaker to share his story of how he grew his Afrocentric brand is Terrence Leluma, founder of Makhamisa Foods – a proudly African brand that tells the South African story in a bottle of a wide range of sauces.

Leluma who addressed SMMEs in the agriculture, sector spoke about the importance of approaching the agro-processing sector with Africa in mind.

“There is a need for a revolution, which promotes self-reliance, a movement that must be led by entrepreneurs, academia, youth leaders and ordinary people. We therefore need to get into the spirit of organising ourselves in order to develop African solutions to African problems,” said Leluma.

According to Leluma, agriculture just like mining should be seen as a sector that has the responsibility to tackle the challenges of unemployment and poverty. Coupled with this, he challenged the audience to consider the following points:
 

  • Harmonising South African culture and values.
  • Disrupting the status quo by taking an innovative approach in how new products areintroduced into the market.
  • Stimulating collaborations between SMME’s and corporations as a fundamental requirement for shared equitable growth and development.
     

With CSIR’s mission being to collaboratively innovate and localise technology for the purpose of establishing an inclusive and sustainable environment for industry and society, the BIDC not only provides a networking platform for SMMEs but, it has also established relations with the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) in an effort to create an ecosystem that provides support to SMMEs.  

“SMMEs consistently communicate that access to finance is a big challenge for them. The BIDC envisions a healthy ecosystem where the players are interconnected and strive towards connecting the best SMMEs with opportunities that will allow them to grow and expand. It is with this in mind that we work with the PIC to bring a pipeline of SMMEs with a solid technology offering into contact with potential resources to help them scale their enterprises.”

After the networking session, the BIDC in collaboration with the PIC, hosted a pitching session for ten SMMEs. The intent was to enable access to funding for SMMEs by providing them with exposure to the PIC’s Project Development Partnership Fund, which provides funding to early stage and investable projects in various sectors such as agribusiness and biosciences.