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 55 branches including 46 co-location points. Seda has presence in some townships and rural areas and has programmes targeting youth and women. Seda supports 56 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 conducts an in-depth diagnosis on small enterprises and cooperatives that approach the Agency through its branch network. It identifies key factors such as quality of products, compliance with national or international standards, access to markets, and marketing of the service or product that stunt growth and sustainability of the business. With that information, Seda intervenes through its programmes and services to support the small enterprise or cooperative. These are not once-off interventions because small enterprises and cooperatives require a significant amount hand-holding. Seda’s interventions involve exploring possible new revenue streams, improving competitiveness of the small enterprises and cooperatives and improving productivity in the business.
Incubation has been proven to reduce the failure rate in the first few years for small enterprises. In addition, Seda and its partners, in collaboration with other stakeholders, are currently launching rapid incubation centres and centres for entrepreneurship at higher learning institutions such as TVET Colleges across the country. These centres are aimed at turning graduates from job seekers to job creators. This involves a six-month entrepreneurship training and idea development programme and an intensive 12-month incubation programme.