Partnering with Local Government: Zululand Municipal Roadshow
In their continued endeavour to unlock local trade across the province, Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) and the Zululand District Municipality held a highly-successful municipal roadshow on 16-17 March 2016.
Held at the Nongoma Inn in the Nongoma Local Municipality, the event aimed to equip, energise and inspire local entrepreneurs to become innovative thinkers in the world of business. It also aimed to build and sustain relations with the local government spheres and create awareness of TIKZN's services.
The closed session on the first day between TIKZN and municipal officials was a platform to engage on issues of trade, investment and projects in the district, with possible linkages to substantially boost the district's economy.
The following day began with a networking business breakfast, where interaction between TIKZN and the Zululand District Municipality ensured that government's shared goals to attract investment, develop strategic partnerships and create jobs throughout KwaZulu-Natal could be achieved.
Speaking on behalf of the Zululand District Mayor Cllr M.A. Hlatshwayo, Cllr Zulu extended his appreciation to TIKZN for establishing a partnership geared towards stabilising the economy. He alluded to the need for investors in the region and the impact it would have on the lives of communities living in the area.
He said that the roadshow was an opportunity to share key information on how entrepreneurs could unlock their business careers and build the confidence of Zululand and its local municipalities' business innovators.
"The Zululand District Municipality and TIKZN are committed to developing the business retention and expansion programmes for different areas within our district as we believe the programme will demonstrate community support for local businesses and enhance the profile of businesses within the local municipality, said Cllr Zulu. We believe this gathering will uncover the concerns and issues perceived by local businesses and encourage new ideas with respect to economic development, as well as respond to immediate business concerns.
It is our hope that these roadshows will strengthen relationships between local municipalities, local businesses, and TIKZN, and that this will in turn facilitate access to potential economic information in all parts of the province, he said.
Speaking on the TIKZN Board's behalf, Cedric Gina highlighted the extent to which investment in KwaZulu-Natal continued emerging as a major contributor to South Africa's growing economy.
The favourable business environment had also made the province "a sound investment destination" for global investors a platform that could efficiently market district projects on the international stage.
"Based on this, it is essential to ensure that municipalities are ready in terms of trade, investment and research expertise," Gina said.
Delivering the keynote address, TIKZN Corporate Services Executive Manager Mxolisi Manyakanyaka said the organisation offered a host of services and the engagement had the ability to create jobs within the local community.
"TIKZN continues stamping its authority in the trade and investment sector, partnering with all spheres of government to support local trade and businesses in creating and sustaining employment in KwaZulu-Natal," he said.
In the past year, TIZKN embarked on three municipal roadshows in a bid to unlock investment opportunities and create jobs across the Province. The aim was to boost awareness of the organisation's services and facilitate interaction between TIKZN and the municipalities to attract investment, develop strategic partnerships and create employment.
The agency promotes KwaZulu-Natal as a premier investment destination and facilitates trade by assisting local companies access to international markets.
Manyakanyaka said that it identified, developed and packaged KwaZulu-Natal's investment opportunities; provided a professional investment promotion; branded and marketed KwaZulu-Natal as a destination; retained and expanded trade activities; and linked opportunities to communities' developmental needs.
In the panel discussion of business people within the Zululand area, themed "Doing business in Zululand", Mr Njabulo Dlomo, Managing Director at Ikhethelo Lodge, and Mr Nene extended appreciation to the Zululand District for the support and initiatives that continue to boost the SMMEs. The panellists further alluded to the importance of making SMMEs self-sufficient so that they don't solely and constantly rely on government support. Most businesses are not sustainable because of a lack of information, skills and resources.
The closing remarks from the Mayor of Nongoma Local Municipality Cllr J.B. Mavundla ended the session. He thanked TIKZN for the partnership established with the municipalities, he emphasised the challenges facing the SMMEs within the Nongoma area, and that most businesses are not sustainable in the area due to the lack of vision and resources. Agriculture was the driving force of the economy within the Nongoma area, but the current drought has made the agricultural sector dormant. He also urged the local businesses to make use of arts and crafts since the area of Nongoma is very rich in the area of arts and culture.
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