The launch of the 2013 Durban Business Fair and 15 year anniversary under the theme ‘growing sustainability’ confirmed that the Municipality remains committed to empowering the Small, Medium-Micro Enterprises (SMME) sector. This was evident today, 19/04/13 at the Hilton Hotel launch, where all the speakers who took to the podium re-iterated the need to invest more resources towards the development of the SMME sectors a mechanism for job creation.

MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Mike Mabuyakhulu, emphasized the importance of developing SMMEs and praised the Municipality for its efforts of growing the sector.

He said, “the surest way to create employment is by stimulating the SMME sector of the economy.”

“We have decided to form a SMME agency which will provide assistance to emerging businesses. Our aim is not to duplicate all the other services which are provided by the existing agencies. But we believe that we need to improve around the area of co-ordination,” he said.

“Taking our cue from the National Development Plan we have also developed the provincial growth and development strategy whose aim is to ensure that by 2030 our province becomes the gateway to the African continent. One of the critical pillars of this plan is that we have identified the SMME sector as critical in growing an economy premised on the notion of shared prosperity,” added Mabuyakhulu.

Mayor, Cllr James Nxumalo said the Municipality remains committed to investing more resources in terms of infrastructure and telecommunications, which will enable our business sector to be globally competitive.

“We have tabled a draft budget proposal of R33.7bn for the next financial year and no less than R26m of that amount will be invested towards the business support training and development, with R8m of that going towards hosting of the Durban Business Fair.”

“The sponsors that have recently come on board are a confirmation that the Durban Business Fair has grown in leaps and bounds over the past 14 years. It is also a commitment from them that they want to make critical contribution to the development of the economy of eThekwini,” explained Nxumalo.

Reflecting on the fair’s evolution over the years, Phillip Sithole, Head of Business Support, Tourism and Markets Units revealed that the Municipality has invested more than R65 million developing businesses in the last 14 years and more than 60% went to SMMEs.

“The highlight of the this year’s fair is that it will be taking place concurrently with the World Association for Small and Medium Enterprises (WASME) and the 19th International Conference on Small and Medium Enterprises (ICSME) and that in the next five years they will be concentrating more on business linkages as a technique of moving away from being an event programme,” he said.

Sithole went on to explain that the Municipality has seen return in investments because of the R65M that they have invested, only 15 of their success stories make an annual turnover of more than R50m and have created more than 2000 sustainable jobs.

Nokuthula Dladla of Megaphase Road Markings and Traffic Signs, one the fair’s success stories of the past years, said the fair has benefited her company in a number of ways and she encourages all the small businesses to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the Durban Business Fair. “We started with nothing using my backroom as an office, we now have a staff compliment of 42 people on a sustainable basis. We are expanding to Africa and we recently opened an office in Zimbabwe, thanks to the platforms and trainings that we got from the Municipality,” she said.


For more information contact Municipal Spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng on 031 311 4820 or 0827317456 or e-mail Thabo1.Mofokeng@durban.gov.za

Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Unit, Sane Shandu 031 311 4806/ 072 572 8658 or e-mail sanelisiwe.shandu@durban.gov.za