Index Sarah Baartman District Municipality hosts SMME Seminar and Expo in Grahamstown
Date Added: 05 May 2015

The Sarah Baartman District Municipality recently hosted a Small, Medium to Macro Enterprises (SMME) Business Seminar and Expo at the Grahamstown Indoor Sports Centre, in the Makana Local Municipality, on 29-30 April, with the aim of informing local residents on various business opportunities available in the district and boosting local entrepreneurship – especially among the youth.

The Expo included a series of workshops to provide aspiring entrepreneurs and established businessmen/women with greater insights into the workings of the business world. These were conducted by representatives from banks; parastatals, such as Small Enterprises Development Agency (SEDA), as well as government departments - the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development (ECDC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT).

In addition to the discussions, the event also afforded local entrepreneurs the opportunity to exhibit their products while they received one-on-one guidance from experts on areas that needed further improvement.

In his keynote address, the Speaker of the Sarah Baartman District Municipality, Deon de Vos, who was accompanied by Makana Local Municipality, Zamuxolo Peter; Sarah Baartman District Municipality Municipal Manager, Ted Pillay, as well as Sarah Baartman District Municipality Portfolio Councillor for Local Economic Development, Noel O’Connell, said that the seminar was not only about encouraging job creation, but to afford residents the opportunity of showing the world that South Africans have not become reliant on government’s social grants.

“When we were struggling for freedom, the only incentive we had was to be free. Unfortunately, as soon as we got our freedom, the majority of our people sat back and said ‘we are free, now those in power must bring everything to our doorstep’.

“Communities have demobilised from economic development and instead, have chosen to wait for everything to come from government. We must bring back that drive that people had for socio-economic upliftment,” de Vos said.

He also stated that while the prospect of being a business owner looks easy to those that did not understand the difference between the so-called ‘tenderpreneurs’ and ‘entrepreneurs’, the latter meant hard work and persistence.

“When you register a company, it doesn’t mean that you are now an entrepreneur. It is not automatic that now that you have been registered on the supplier database of the Sarah Baartman District Municipality, you just sit back and wait for a telephone call for you to provide the municipality with a quote,” said de Vos.

“Waiting for a tender is not going to change your economic situation. Real entrepreneurship means competing with others out there in the world with better products and better services.”

He further challenged the youth to become more proactive in their communities.

“Many still have this adage that to get a job, you stand outside the factory gates or wait for a person with a bakkie to come and pick you up. This perception needs to change and we should become more active in building our communities – which is what this expo is about.”