DBF 2020

Women Economic Empowerment

The Durban Business Fair’s Women Economic Empowerment engagement hosted on 15 September on digital platforms and at Moses Mabhida Stadium was not just a ‘talk shop’ but delved right into the heart of current and available disruptive value chain opportunities for women in business.

The panel discussion was led by female entrepreneurs who have vast of experience in the business world. These include Ayanda Njilo, Chief Operations Officer of Induduzo Bespoke Funerals, Lynette Ntuli, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Innate Investment Solutions and Transnet Chief Procurement Officer, Thandi Sabelo.

The women’s webinar which discussed opportunities presented by technological advancements in business officially kick-started the 22nd Durban Business Fair (DBF) series of empowerment engagements to run until 27 September under the theme ‘Experience the journey of innovation’.

Sabelo said: “There is a time where you must diversify. Such disruptions are not always negative but presents change which needs to be embraced for positive outcomes.”

She mentioned several opportunities available at Transnet that women can unlock and made training referrals to qualify for such. “Most of the company’s equipment uses high-tech components that women can supply as well as available port driving services opportunities. Women must not be afraid to take on such big projects.”

Business Engagement

Entrepreneurs engaged in robust dialogue around the topic of innovation and navigating a rapidly changing business landscape as a result of Covid-19 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on 22 September.

The engagement, which was also streamed online, formed part of the Durban Business Fair programme that aimed to promote the business sector while positioning Durban as the ultimate business hub in the country and the world.

Businessman and Disc Jockey Sbusiso Leope, popularly known as DJ Sbu, thanked the City for creating a platform to develop the business community. He encouraged viewers to be innovative, risk takers and to also take advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“When you start a business, you need to have a long-term vision of what you want to achieve. Start with what you have and work hard to attain your goals. Strive to create multiple streams of income. A number of businesses collapsed during the pandemic because they could not adapt to the changing environment,” said Leope.

Flavours Of Durban

One of Durban’s leading township entertainment spots, Max’s Lifestyle took centre stage when it hosted the Durban Business Fair’s Flavours of Durban: Township Culinary Experience show on Heritage Day, 24 September.

The event saw professional chefs and celebrity guests cook mouth-watering dishes that displayed the diverse cultures the City boasts.

The day culminated with a cooking competition, namely “What’s Your Durban Flavour Competition”, which started on 10 September and ended on 22 September and saw participants challenged to post a video of any dish that they think best describes ‘Durban Flavour’.

Other chefs who transferred their culinary expertise to the audience was Chef Shanko Ndabisa of ‘Shanko’s Kitchen’ and Chef Nono Mtshali of ‘In the Kitchen with Nono’.

Mhlongo expressed his love for Durban food. He also encouraged attendees to take pride in their home languages and to not to shy away from using them.

“What I love about Durban and what makes the City stands out when it comes to food is the variation of flavours in dishes and spices that they offer,” said Mhlongo.

Business Engagement II

Founder and Chief Executive Officer for Brand Leadership Group Thebe Ikalafeng talked about the impact of the coronavirus on businesses, saying many companies had to shut down for good while others flourished. “Marketing is about making promises and delivering on those promises. The pandemic forced us to rethink how we look at things and how we approach problems,” said Ikalafeng.

Sphelele Mjadu, Head of Public Relations and Marketing at Unilever urged emerging entrepreneurs to be on the lookout for brands that want to help them grow. “It is your responsibility as a business owner to search for information that will grow your establishment. Times are changing, traditional forms of marketing are not as effective as they were 20 years ago.

The introduction of social media gave birth to influencers which are now mostly utilised for marketing campaigns.” Mjadu emphasised the importance of understanding consumers and their needs in order to develop campaigns that speak to them and cater to those needs.

“The lockdown forced us to rethink and recreate our marketing campaigns. We had to understand how our consumers would use beauty products at home due to the lockdown. Our campaign switched to encouraging and educating people to self-care at home,” she said.

Youth Business Summit

During the youth dialogue themed ‘Integrate to Innovate: Not All is Lost’, Themba Nkosi, property entrepreneur and music producer popularly known as DJ Euphonik, Mandisa Mpeko of Global Shapers, actress and entrepreneur Phindile Gwala as well as Carol Bouwer, TV producer and businesswoman delivered on the City’s vision of encouraging an innovative future generation.

“It’s true, knowledge is power and can open many doors,” she said. DJ Euphonik said diversifying his business interests helped him survive the lockdown period. “Young people, you must read to stay informed so that you know what is on demand and expand. Once your business takes off, look for other opportunities in order to have different streams of income.”

Mpeko advised young people to be open to collaborations and investments in order to grow. She advised the youth to be true to themselves as the first step to success is hard work.

“Good things do not fall from the tree. It takes hard work and dedication.” The youth seminar was the final engagement of the weeklong Durban Business Fair empowerment sessions which saw emerging and established business people engage in robust dialogue around innovation and the rapidly changing business landscape as a result of Covid-19 as well as innovative marketing solutions.

Durban Fashion Fair

The DFF celebrated its 9th year and showcased 25 local designers, who had again come together to not only celebrate the fascination of fashion but boost the city’s fashion economy by supporting local talent and local businesses.

The three-night showcase took place on September 23, 24, 25,  with its overall theme – The show must go on!

A few of the evening shows were filmed at some of eThekwini Municipality’s iconic attractions in celebration, as September was not only regarded as Tourism month but also as Heritage month. Some of the attractions were the City Hall, Moses Mabhida Stadium, Botanic Gardens, the New Promenade and Max’s Lifestyle in Umlazi.

EThekwini Mayor, Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda, said the “theme for this year’s fashion fair was particularly important as the City’s economy had been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, and required lockdown regulations and every opportunity needed to be taken to help restore the livelihood of the City’s businesses. Identifying and optimising empowerment opportunities is crucial to ensure sustainability of businesses.”

“The DFF is one of the platforms to be used to assist in the City’s economic recovery efforts. Often, we focus only on the traditional manufacturing and services sectors when it comes to growing the city’s economy but we should never forget the important contribution made by the so-called creative industries – and the textile and clothing industry which includes both big businesses and SMME’s is one of the most important segments of that,” said Kaunda