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R6,5m fund for 'Cape Innovators'

Innovation in the Western Cape is set to get another healthy boost, with the announcement that designers, inventors, entrepreneurs and product developers  can apply for grants of up to half a million Rands each from the second round of the Design Innovation Seed Fund (DISF.)

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SA manufacturing needs to empower small businesses

Small to medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) are the engine of economic growth and are essential for competitive and efficient economic growth. Research has shown that SMMEs are critical for poverty reduction and can play a particularly important role in developing countries. SMMEs are the largest provider of employment in most countries (especially of new job creation) and are a major source of technological innovation and new products.

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Western Cape Business Opportunities Forum appoints Arifa Parkar as CEO

“Our role is to be broker, facilitator; to advocate and to be the catalyst for the development of small businesses,” states Arifa Parkar.

Western Cape Business Opportunities’ Forum (WECBOF), promotions agency for business, and mainly SMMEs in the Western Cape, recently appointed astute businesswoman - with a passion for developing our ‘grassroots economy’ - Arifa Parkar, as its CEO. 

For the past 21 years WECBOF, which is member-based, has been effectively working as a service association providing businesspeople with relevant information, training, business opportunities, and representation on appropriate investment, public sector, and related platforms.

WECBOF’s core objective is to improve business performance in order to achieve improved levels of economic growth and employment, reduce poverty, and meet social objectives.  In order to achieve its objective, WECBOF focusses on addressing issues such as contributing to the establishment of an environment that is conducive to a free market based on competitiveness, access to financial and other business support services, and expanding markets for products and services.  Additionally, the diversity of WECBOF’s membership offers a vital source of contracts, information, and resources to ensure the continued growth and strength of the organisation’s policy and lobbying role.   

According to WECBOF Chairperson, Palash Moodley, the organisation welcomes Arifa on board; they are confident that with her vast local and international business experience, she is able to steer the organisation to serve the business needs of its members, as well as to adapt to an ever-changing commercial and economic environment.  

“Businesses throughout the world are actively involved in the development of their economies; associations such as WECBOF play the role of a united front, something we cannot achieve as individual organisations,” Says Arifa, 

“Our role is to be broker, facilitator, to advocate, and to be the catalyst for the development small businesses.  SMMEs are the backbones of an economy.  They contribute to the country’s national product by manufacturing goods of value, or through the provision of services to both consumers and/or other enterprises.  Importantly, SMMEs have the potential to generate employment and upgrade human capital”, she says. 

WECBOF’S short-term deliverables (April- to December 2016)

  •  Facilitate resource and information exchange between government, formal businesses and SMMEs by hosting information exchange sessions.
  •  Facilitate and deliver support services such as training, networking opportunities, and access to relevant forums through:

-     Seminars/workshops

-    Big conferences/symposia

-    Networking sessions all over the Western Cape

  • Facilitate and design appropriate programmes to cover every aspect of start-up businesses, from marketing, to business policies, and to literally hold the hands of ‘survivalists’ to ensure that they seal their first business deals.  This includes mentoring and training more than 25 ‘survivalists’ into the mainstream economy. Facilitate and design a specialised training and mentorship programme for new entrepreneurs. To contribute to the creation of a ‘society’ which stimulates the growth of new and existing businesses through the promotion of economic policies, the simplification of financial instruments at legislative level.
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