Johannesburg - Over the past financial year the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) created some 31 300 jobs by making loans worth R8.4bn available to enterprises.
Chief executive Geoffrey Qhena said this would have to double if the institution were to make an impact.
South Africa’s unemployment rate is around 25% – a terrifying figure.
If the IDC really wants to make a difference, it will have to double or more than double that sum, he said.
According to the country’s industrial plan the IDC needs to facilitate more than 300 000 new jobs in the next five years.
To this end an investment of R100bn has been put aside.
Qhena said there was a dedication and willingness on the part of the IDC to reach this objective, but it has to be easier for people to do business in the country.
He therefore welcomed the establishment of the Infrastructure Commission and the Job Creation Commission recently announced following the Cabinet’s July lekgotla.
The IDC has a strong balance sheet and can therefore make R100bn worth of loans available by using money it already has or by borrowing it.
The money will therefore be available, he said. What are needed are good businesses and ideas in which to invest.
But if one looks at what our economy needs, this amount is not much, and so the IDC would wish to do more.
Qhena said there had been a large-scale effort by the IDC to promote entrepreneurship in South Africa over the past six to seven years.
It had established, among other things, a support unit for enterprises, after realising entrepreneurs needed not only funding but other non-financial support as well.
The IDC identifies areas in which an entrepreneur needs additional assistance or where there are shortcomings and tries to help with these.
This, said Qhena, was one of the IDC’s efforts to make it easier for entrepreneurs.
Over the past 18 months the institution had ensured that it broaden its presence, because for a long time it had had only three offices outside Gauteng.
It asked itself how accessible the IDC could be and has opened offices in each province, together with satellite offices.
It wants to be visible and closer to entrepreneurs, making it easier for them to get access to IDC services, he said
The IDC has also opened offices closer to other institutions offering small-business support, such as the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and Khula Loans offices.
This meant that if the IDC could not help people they could more easily be referred to Khula or the South African Micro-Finance Apex Fund (Samaf), which could certainly assist.
Earlier this year Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel announced that Khula, which provides small businesses with finance through financial intermediaries, Samaf, and the IDC’s small business loan book would merge to make access to funding easy.