MAYOR’S FOREWORD BY HIS WORSHIP, THE MAYOR OF ETHEKWINI MUNICIPALITY, COUNCILLOR MXOLISI KAUNDA
For the past 21 years, the Municipality has shown great success in developing the small medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) sector through various programs by providing them with exposure to greater business opportunities.
As a City, we understand that the sector not only contributes in the economic development, social uplifting and political stability of every country, but also a significant role in creating jobs especially in difficult economic times. It is for this reason that we remain committed in advancing the SMME sector through various programs to promote social and economic transformation.
It is inspiring that platforms like Business Fairs have equipped businesses with information and skills that will help them grow and become competitive. To date, the Business Fair has had a positive impact and supported over 33 500 businesses since its inception. The city of Durban has contributed over R240 million with direct investment of R15.6 million by small businesses.
We are proud that this premium exhibition continues to attract businesses from various sectors showcasing their products and services. With great pressure to enhance factors that drive competitiveness, it is important that we enhance the business sector to keep the pace. Thus our theme, Journey of Innovations, is focusing on the impact the Fourth Industrial Revolution has on small business and the opportunities it presents. This requires innovation and strong technical capacity for small businesses to compete in the fast changing technologically advanced business environment.
As a City, we are excited that the programs have grown and attracted foreign countries to share platform with our local businesses to impart business skills. With technology advancing, SMMEs should invest in new technology and become more innovative towards identifying new businesses and customers. This will prove to be particularly useful when they start exporting to foreign markets.
Strengthening relationships with various stakeholders and building international networks will offer many benefits for participating businesses. This includes the exposure that allows them to learn the new and innovative trends of trading in the dynamic global economy in order to achieve sustainable growth for our City.
I would like to recognize the contribution and strides that are made through the Durban Fashion Fair programs in pursuit of creating sustained jobs in the clothing and textile
sector. The success of the Durban Fashion Fair lies in the fact that it is a real celebration of fashion and it impacts on everyone. Our vision is that Durban should be the best place in the world to incubate and grow a fashion business with support to go from strength to strength.