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12 July 2013

TEP annual report reveals positive impact on small tourism businesses

In its past financial year, TEP provided assistance to more than 3600 tourism businesses, 1421 of them based in rural areas.

Chris Lebese, owner of Pitseng Arts and Craft Chris Lebese, owner of Pitseng Arts and Craft, displays his ceramics at the launch of the TEP annual report.

The results demonstrate that TEP is highly successful in removing or mitigating impediments to its clients’ success, with TEP-supported businesses being more confident, more innovative, showing higher turnover, and growing employment faster than non-supported businesses. – Dr Salifou Diddo, chief executive, TEP

The Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP) annual report has revealed the positive impact enterprise development support has had on small tourism businesses in South Africa.

The assistance provided by TEP to the 3600 businesses ranged from skills development and funding to market access. The result has been that TEP-registered tourism businesses created 4901 additional jobs in the tourism sector in the 2012/2013 financial year and increased their combined revenue by R775-million.

In addition, TEP trained 3261 enterprises, mentored 104 tourism businesses, created 2416 market access opportunities locally and internationally, and made 673 funding provisions.

The impressive results have been attributed to strong partnerships within the tourism sector and with companies that realise the importance of tourism for the growth of the South African economy.

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said that in order to achieve growth and sustainability for micro, small and medium tourism businesses, the National Department of Tourism looked to TEP as a key implementing partner and custodian of enterprise development of SMMEs.

‘It has been gratifying to see TEP grow from a small programme into what is, arguably, the premier enterprise development organisation in the country. Our partnership with TEP continues to thrive and we look forward to successful co-operation in the coming year,’ he said.

Commenting on the results, Dr Salifou Diddo, TEP's chief executive, said it is only when TEP can demonstrate relevance and impact that it can achieve sustainability. 'Guided by these three strategic themes TEP set out to execute a new business plan for the 2012/2013 financial year. This included a robust communication strategy to ensure greater awareness about the company’s new strategic direction,’ he said.

Siddo added that as an economic development agency, TEP was aware that the litmus test for success was the impact of its interventions on SMMEs. It therefore participated in the annual growth index carried out by independent research firm, Small Business Project (SBP), an independent research firm.

‘The results demonstrate that TEP is highly successful in removing or mitigating impediments to its clients’ success, with TEP-supported businesses being more confident, more innovative, showing higher turnover, and growing employment faster than non-supported businesses,’ he commented.

Jo Fritz, owner of Jo’s Guesthouse and Hantamkraal Restaurant in Calvinia in the Northern Cape, a TEP-supported business, said more and more people have become aware of his guest house and restaurant as a result of TEP marketing. ‘As a direct result my bookings have increased,’ he commented.

Millicent Shai, owner of Thaba Legae Guest Lodge near Rustenburg, another TEP-supported business, said TEP’s mentorship programme was ‘outstanding’. ‘It made us realise Thaba Legae’s potential and helped us find value in what we do,’ she said.

For Lerato Matou, TEP has assisted with putting her Soweto business, Mahlatse Arts and Crafts, on the map. ‘Thanks to TEP, Mahlatse Arts and Crafts has relationships with people from around the world,’ she said.

Chris Lebese, owner of Pitseng Arts and Craft in Soweto, said TEP was always looking for ways to help his business. 'It’s great having people like this on the side of Pitseng Arts and Craft,' he said.

Aside from conducting a full review of its operational and reporting processes, TEP is set to review its skills development programme that will see it include new modules such as responsible tourism and social media with emphasis on youth, women, people with disabilities, and a focus on rural areas to ensure tourism’s accessibility to all of South Africa's people.

Meanwhile, TEP's Board chairman, Rick Menell, has stepped down after serving as chairman for three years. Brian Whittaker, executive director at Vumelana Advisory Fund and a former chief executive of the Business Trust takes over the chairmanship. Menell is to remain a director on the Board.