South Africa to Host the International Small Business Congress

South Africa to Host the International Small Business Congress

South Africa will host the 37th annual International Small Business Congress at the Sandton Convention Centre from 15-18 September 2012. This was announced by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies at a media briefing in Cape Town today.  It will be for the first time that the Congress is held on the African soil.

The congress will be hosted in collaboration with the City of Johannesburg, Foundation for African Business and Consumer Services (FABCOS), Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa), Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), MTN Business, ABSA Bank and Shanduka Black Umbrellas.

“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 SMME sector. More than 1 000 delegates are expected to decent to our shores for the congress, and the  venue will be a hive of activity as debates and discussions on the future and role of SMEs in the global economy take up centre stage and heighten up,” said Minister Davies.

The theme of this year’s congress will be “Fostering small business in new and high-potential industries worldwide “.

“This theme is of particular importance to South Africa especially as we widen the market for South African goods and services through stronger focus on exports to the region and other economic groupings such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS).  The theme is also important as we advocate for a diversified economy and we venture into activities geared towards greening the economy.  Based on the latter, there are new opportunities for new enterprises and this congress will provide for a learning platform in these areas,” added Minister Davies.

The 2012 Congress will put the spotlight on small business development in South Africa and will celebrate past successes and chart new ways for the future, with a particular focus on promoting small business in emerging industries.

Other than the President of ISBC, Ms Catherine Swift, there are other speakers from South Africa, Canada, England, Nigeria, Malaysia, Northern Ireland, Cameroon, Japan, France, Mauritius, Sierra Leone and India, to mention a few, who have confirmed their participation in the Congress where they will share their knowledge and expertise with other SME practitioners.
President of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce (Nafcoc), Mr Lawrence Mavundla said they welcomed the initiatives taken by government in bringing the congress to South Africa.

“Small medium enterprises have always been a main driver for employment in South Africa and with this congress a lot of jobs can be created,” said Mavundla.

Zunaid Bulbulia, Acting Chief Enterprise Business Officer at MTN Business said:  “It is a privilege for MTN Business to be a partner in bringing the ISBC to Africa shores for the very first time! This sponsorship is an obvious alignment and representation of our commitment to empowering entrepreneurs and small business across the continent.”

The Chief Executive responsible for Retail and Business Banking at Absa Mr Bobby Malabie says entrepreneurship and small business have globally been proven to be the primary creators of jobs in any economy, both the developed and the developing countries, and the South African entrepreneurs will benefit immensely from exchanging ideas with their counterparts from other parts of the world.

Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry
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