Call for SMME summit to return

From left, Cape Town mayor Georden Hill-Lewis speaks as MC Mark Kleinschmidt, ACM CEO Sandy Naudé, Heart FM presenter Olwethu Nodada, and James Vos, the mayoral committee member for economic growth look on.

The second edition of the Cape Town SMME Summit was well received with attendees hoping it will make a return.

The sold-out summit, which focused on small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs), was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) last Tuesday, June 27, and attended by 1435 people.

Speakers included mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis; entrepreneur Vusi Thembekwayo; Heart FM presenter Olwethu Nodada; mayoral committee member for economic growth, James Vos; and Africa Community Media (ACM) CEO Sandy Naudé.

ACM, which publishes the Atlantic Sun and its sister titles, was a print media partner of the event.

According to Rozario Brown, the director of events, people want the summit to take place twice a year.

“The summit will definitely be an annual event. We are now more convinced than ever before that summits of this nature are essential in terms of getting the same sector united and sharing of ideas. Networking cannot be taught, it must be experienced, especially during these challenging times,” Mr Brown said.

“The idea behind the summit is to bring entrepreneurs together for networking purposes and to bring them in contact with government. Besides that we speak of the impact of load shedding on small businesses and companies and we had speakers that could inform the attendees of how to navigate a small business during these difficulty times.”

He said most of the comments received were positive and that some of the feedback will be implemented at the next event.

“We have reached well over two million people via our various marketing platforms, including social media, Heart FM and Africa Community Media. Moving forward, we shall implement some of the suggestions made by the guests.”

Ms Naudé said community newspapers have supported SMMEs for decades and will continue to do so.

“Our oldest newspaper is the False Bay Echo. It’s celebrating 70 years this year and we have 18 titles that can support small businesses in their respective communities,” Ms Naude said.

“We distribute 600 000 newspapers every week so we can definitely help new businesses and small businesses grow; that’s the whole point of our business and I believe we are a synergy between small and big businesses,” she said.

The Africa Community Media desk was inundated with requests regarding advertising in the 18 newspapers, which includes the Atlantic Sun.

Kimlynne Temple, the CEO of tipped, a digital platform for paying tips, said it was an insightful event and she enjoyed the focus on support for SMMEs.

“Olwethu Nodada provided valuable marketing and social media guidance, emphasising the importance of these strategies for small businesses. Sandy Naudé described SMMEs as ‘engines of growth’ which I thought was such great description as they drive economic progress. And it was truly encouraging to hear mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis discussing the positive changes that have been made and are still in progress in the Cape,” said Ms Temple.

“It was inspiring to see the commitment from various companies and individuals to provide support, guidance and resources to SMMEs, helping them thrive in a competitive landscape,” she said.

Tia Alexander, a mentor and entrepreneur, said the information she received from the speakers was worth it.

“The host and the speakers were all really good, the host was so charismatic and I enjoyed what they all had to say. It definitely added to what I’m learning about business, marketing and using social media,” said Ms Alexander.

“Vusi was inspirational and he created a clear narrative that is positive and negative about South Africa as well as global issues. He spoke about the community issues which was really powerful and that perspective was about changing the way the new generation of business owners go about their business,” she said.

Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said government has an important role to play in enabling the success of the private sector.

“We (City of Cape Town) have an enabling role and we understand our role to the small and medium business sector. The only way we can make South Africa work better is through faster economic growth. And the most important part of economic growth is you, the people that create job employment,” Mr Hill-Lewis said.

Sandy Naudé, the CEO of Africa Community Media, spoke of the importance of community newspapers and how they support small businesses.