The Durban Business Fair, which started off as the SMME Fair, has grown to be the most esteemed programme of the City, which has attracted international attention. Having been hosted for the past 17 years with resounding success, the Fair reiterates the City’s commitment to provide support to Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and encourage their involvement in the fast-growing economies. This will ensure that SMMEs play a meaningful role in the economic growth of the City in order to attract more investors and create more employment opportunities
. When the Municipality created the Durban Business Fair programme, our aim was to grow SMMEs by providing an invaluable platform to showcase, market products and services whilst creating business linkages and networking platforms through a variety of innovative activities. In most countries, including South Africa, the SMME sector provides a major contribution to economic growth by sustaining employment and contributing to GDP. It was through the Durban Business Fair that most support mechanisms for SMMEs were implemented. This was to ensure that the sector survives the rigid competition of big business in the mainstream economy and that SMMEs have access to global markets.
Today, we are marveled by the achievements the Durban Business Fair has made. The Municipality has witnessed magnificent success stories from businesses that have become successful and contributed great investments in terms of jobs creation. It is evident that SMMEs are vitally important for economic health, in both high-income and low-income economies, worldwide.
Whilst we are celebrating this milestone, we acknowledge that the SMME sector is facing various challenges; some suffer access to finance, cost increases and many more. It is through interventions such as the Durban Business Fair that SMMEs can be capacitated with expertise to remedy the predicament. This is where businesses can learn about growing markets and identify sectors that will enable them gain access and to do business with international markets.
We are excited that the programme has grown and attracted foreign countries to share platform with our local businesses to impart business skills. With technology advancing, SMMEs should invest in new technology and become more innovative towards identifying new businesses and customers. This will prove to be particularly useful when they start exporting to foreign markets.
Strengthening relationships with various stakeholders and building international networks will offer many benefits for participating businesses. This includes the exposure that allows them to learn the new and innovative trends of trading in the dynamic global economy in order to achieve sustainable growth for our City.