The government remains confident of boosting the performance and success rates of small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) despite slow economic growth, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said on Thursday. Zulu was speaking in Parliament where she delivered her budget vote speech. She said her department would ensure growth in the contribution from SMEs to GDP from 42% to 45% by 2019. Her plan is to also grow the number of SMEs and start-ups from 2.15-million to 2.56-million, as well as increase the total number of jobs created by the sector from about 7-million to 9-million by 2019. However, while the National Development Plan — the government’s blueprint for eliminating poverty and reducing inequality — has set ambitious goals for the SME sector, entrepreneurs continue to face challenges such as red tape, a lack of access to finance, and the high cost of doing business. Zulu said the government is addressing these issues, conceding that, presently, the contribution ...

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