Small Enterprise Development Agency
The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) is an agency of the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) which provides non-financial support to small enterprises and cooperatives.
Seda has by far the biggest network of offices in the country, with 53 branches including 46 co-location points. Seda has presence in some townships and rural areas and has programmes targeting youth and women. Seda supports 99 Technology Incubation Centres across the country, affording start-ups and new disruptive innovations a well-equipped and protected environment in which to develop and grow for a period of three years.
Seda is adopting the district-based development approach to align support to the district economic sectors and in line with the Integrated Development Plans and Local Economic Development strategies to be able to make a real impact. Seda will now focus on Business Development Service (BDS) standards and practitioner capacitation in the district and management of the database according to the needs of the districts. In terms of this new model, Seda will no longer be providing all development services through its branches but will refer SMMEs to various providers in its database for support.
Incubation has been proven to reduce the failure rate in the first few years for small enterprises. South Africa currently has 244 incubators and accelerators with tech incubation hubs making up only 20% of the network. The distribution of incubators and accelerators in the country follows a similar pattern to that of the economy, with a high density in Gauteng of 37% or 91 and the Western Cape at 22% or 54. Another reality is that 86% of incubators are located in urban areas, with very few existing in townships and rural areas.
Seda will focus on designing incubation models, managing national incubation standards, market assessments aimed at feeding opportunities to the ecosystem, influence or direct private sector and government spend accordingly, monitoring and evaluating the entire system, to name a few. Seda will also facilitate private sector partnerships for the establishment of digital hubs, with 41 new hubs to be added by the 2024 financial year, following a district model. The organisation still plans to launch 13 township tech hubs in the financial year 2020/21, about four of which are near completion.