AS a way of ploughing much needed financial support into small businesses, government is lobbying the private sector and government institutes to order goods from emerging entrepreneurs.
Speaking at the North Regional Business Fair which was held at Bridge City Shopping Mall on 15-17 July, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala assured small businesses that government is working tirelessly to gainer financial support from the private sector and government institutes.
“Research has revealed that small businesses are a big part of growing the economy and this means we must invest all our support towards developing small businesses,” said Zikalala addressing the more than 1 200 aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs.
The fair drew 15 461 visitors and buyers who came to support locally produced goods from 162 exhibitors.
Zikalala also alerted small businesses about upcoming developments in the Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK) area that they can look forward to. The developments include the R50 million KwaNozaza Development Project set to be launched in September. Construction is expected to begin before the end of the year.
Zikalala said another project on the cards will be a R100 million KwaMashu Shopping Centre redevelopment which is expected to commence in 2017. He added that a feasibility study will be conducted for a proposed new mall at Inanda at an estimated cost of R150 000.
“This will be done in partnership with Ithala which is investing money. The total investment envisaged for the INK area over the next three years amounts to R300 million and we will ensure that local entrepreneurs and youth benefit during the construction phase and operation of these facilities,” added Zikalala.
During the fair, Durban business tycoon Vivian Reddy encouraged small businesses to invest in growing their businesses instead of rushing to show-off material gains.
Reddy, a multi-billionaire entrepreneur left attendees highly motivated when he spoke about how he turned small amounts of money into billions through re-investing profits.
Meanwhile, exhibitors said the regional business fairs have become anchor platforms for emerging entrepreneurs as they expose their businesses to markets in other parts of the province and country. This, said exhibitors, boosts sales and clientele.
Lizzy Gumede of Medizone, a wellness company said the fair as a resounding success for her business. “I still cannot believe what I achieved in the space of three days. My machine costs R12 500 and I managed to sell 15 machines which totals close to R187 500.
To think that I only paid R100 to exhibit but made this much is totally amazing,” she said.
Gumede thanked the Municipality for bringing investors, inspirational business experts and sponsors to be part of the exhibition.
Head of the Municipality’s Business Support, Tourism and Markets Unit, Philip Sithole said reviving Regional Business Fairs about three years ago was the best decision the City has ever taken. “My heart is at ease when we receive such heart-warming testimonies from beneficiaries because we are mandated to support businesses,” he said.