South Africa will host the International Small Business Congress (ISBC) from 15 – 18 September 2012 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. The theme of the congress will be Fostering small business in new and high-potential industries worldwide.
The congress will be hosted in collaboration with the City of Johannesburg, the Foundation for African Business and Consumer Services, Khula Enterprise Finance (now the Small Enterprise Finance Agency or Sefa) and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda). The congress provides for a platform to benchmark and draw lessons from both the developed and developing countries with a view of sharpening policy development and high impact programmes in the South African small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMME) sector.
The ISBC has been held annually since the first conference in Hawaii in 1974. The basic objectives are, as they were in 1974, to bring together representatives from business, governments, academic communities, financial institutions and trade associations for the purpose of exchanging views about SMME policies and programmes for assisting them, providing possible solutions to the challenges and providing business and market opportunities among participating SMMEs. Further, the objectives are to develop communication linkages and networks to continue meaningful contacts and relationships, resulting in mutual assistance among the various countries.
Since the first congress in 1974, the ISBC has hosted 36 annual congresses in different parts of the world, enabling entrepreneurship and small business promoters to gain exposure to different contexts, thereby enriching their own practice in their home countries.
This will be the first time that the congress is held in Africa, and the organisers are hoping that practitioners in Africa will take advantage of this opportunity to increase their voice and influence in this global network.
Each congress bears a strong local flavour, while simultaneously showcasing leading practices from around the world. Participants leave each congress with a great deal of information on the state of entrepreneurship and small business promotion worldwide.