THE Kimberley Diamond and Jewellery Incubator (KDJI) was launched on Tuesday (08/12).
During the launch, the deputy minister of Small Business Development, Elizabeth Thabethe, said although it is good to export, it is better to stop exporting raw minerals, but rather beneficiate them here. According to Thabethe, the incubator in the Northern Cape can plays an important role in keeping the diamond and jewellery industry alive.
“Currently this industry is not meeting the export needs of the minerals beneficiation industry.
“This is evidenced by the substantial loss of income to the country in the form of diamond cutters and polishers and the scarcity of jewellers,” she said.
KDJI is one of the 49 technology business incubation centres run by Seda through its technology programme as an intervention programme to fight unemployment amongst the youth and graduates.
The incubation centres provide ne-cessary business infrastructure, strategic guidance and an environment of learning and sharing.
“This builds the skills and knowledge base of entrepreneurs, better preparing them for business in the open market with a view to improving their survi-val, particularly in the first few critical years of starting a business,” Thabethe added.
Sharing her story, one of the incubatees, Nompumelelo Phiri, said she was excited that it will boost her ability to open her own jewellery store.
“I was looking for a job, but I could not get any. Then I learnt about the incubating programme, which I also saw as an opportunity to open my own jewellery store,” said this graduate of the University of Johannesburg with confidence.
The chairperson of the board, Itemogeng Steenkamp, said the criteria for selecting the beneficiaries, include the sustainability potential of a businesses and not just its ability to survive.
“There has to be the spark of creativity. This is a highly specialised sector, thus we have to ensure that we attract the right people,” he emphasised.
The trainees will be incubated and monitored for a period of three years before they can start their own businesses.
The acting mayor of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, Agnes Ntlangula, said the incubator offers a solution to the problem of job creation.
“This is a solution for Kimberley to shine as bright as Johannesburg.
She was flanked by the MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Mac Jack, and the technology executive manager, Nosipho Khonkwane, of the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), an agency of the Department of Small Business Development. The launch was part of the Global Business Incubation Day celebration.