28 May 2018
Inner and Outer West Regional Business Fair Hailed As a Success
THE three-day Inner and Outer West Regional Business Fair, held at the Hammarsdale Junction Mall from 25 to 27 May, was hailed for continuing to expose and promote township-based businesses on the highly contested platform.
The exhibitors included three Phezulu High School learners who exhibited for the first time at the Regional Fair. They were thankful to the Municipality for the opportunity to market their businesses to a wider audience. The business-minded learners also reported making a profit from sales as well as increasing their customer database from networking with potential buyers.
The learners, who are in the business studies class as part of their curriculum at school, sell leather handbags which are produced by themselves, handmade craft and artwork as well as vegetables which they have grown.
One of the learners, Siphelele Mthembu said attending the Regional Fair exceeded their expectations as they also learnt about business development opportunities provided by the Municipality.
Mthembu made reference to the 2018 Lion’s Den Business Plan competition that offers financial and non-financial support to emerging businesses. Applications for this competition are currently open and close on 29 June 2018.
“We will definitely not miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which also has an intermediate schools entrepreneurship category,” Mthembu added.
Other elements of the Regional Fair included Youth Business Connect seminars which provided a platform for young people to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges from Coca Cola, South African Breweries and Ithala.
The Fair also hosted a Business Indaba with a key focus on construction and co-operative development, Flavours of Durban culinary lessons, film master classes and fashion talks which saw four panellists deliver talks on garment construction, pricing, marketing and fashion in retail.
All these platforms provided economic opportunities available as the speakers, which ranged from developers, stakeholders from various sectors and Municipal project executives, highlighted sub-contractor work, employment opportunities and development projects in the pipeline.
The Fair, which has been hailed as a resounding success, attracted 14 470 visitors who came to support the over 100 exhibitors. Over 1 300 emerging and aspiring entrepreneurs attended the business seminars, with 470 participants attending filmmaking master classes and 110 young people participating in the Youth Business Connect seminar.
Another highlight of the Fair was the film development master class that was addressed by local award-winning filmmakers Philani and Bonnie Sithebe.
The Sithebes, who are the founders of the Durban Motion Pictures Film Production Company, are from Hammersdale. They are discovering and exposing local talent through producing local films that are aired on DSTV’s Mzansi Magic channel.
The Sithebe’s encouraged attendees to look beyond the acting profession saying film production has other elements that could contribute to the growth of an aspiring film maker.
“People must understand that there is more to film making than acting. There are people behind the scenes like a director, producer, scriptwriter, make-up artist, wardrobe department, camera people and so forth. You need those people to get the final product that you see on the screens. So I encourage people to look beyond acting,” said Philani.
Furthermore, three local telenovela Uzalo full-time employees, who started as interns, also spoke about the important roles behind the scenes. Siphamandla Nomandla, Thalente Zuma and Gugulethu Phiri were beneficiaries of Uzalo’s one year internship programme that was facilitated by the Municipality’s Film Office.
Chairperson of the Economic Development and Planning Committee Councillor Sipho Kaunda said the exhibition was a huge success, adding that the response from the Hammarsdale business community was overwhelming.
“All the seminars and other activities that were held within the three days had full attendance with some attendees presenting testimonies on how this platform has contributed to the growth of their business. This indicates that they don’t take these platforms for granted and that they are serious about business development,” he said.
Councillor Kaunda said they revived regional business fairs to accelerate local economic growth in the different parts of eThekwini.
“To further uplift enterprises, we have set aside R99 million for the next three years for this programme,” he added.
Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Acting Head of Communications, Mandla Nsele.