A Collaborative effort - "In Conversation with KwaZulu-Natal"
On Friday 29 January 2016,Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal in collaboration with its strategic development partners; Dube Trade Port, Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, KwaZulu-Natal Growth Fund and Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) set out to Gauteng to host an information sharing business breakfast aimed at collectively promoting the province of KwaZulu-Natal as an investment destination.
The In Conversation was conceptualised in 2014, where TIKZN CEO hosted an "In Conversation with the CEO's" breakfast session in Cape Town, to promote the agency and to tell a KZN story to the small business delegates from the Western Cape that he hosted. This was to test the appetite for the Western Cape businesses to invest in KZN and to do business with KZN business. Emanating from that, a collaborative approach was required hence a larger delegation consisting of sister agencies joint forces and went to Cape Town to promote the Province as an investment destination through highlighting the value chain with the other EDTEA agencies. The latter event was called "In Conversation with KwaZulu-Natal".
Speaking on behalf of Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal, the Chief Executive Officer Mr Zamo Gwala highlighted the importance of TIKZN setting up an office in Gauteng, which was to get closer to the business decision makers and domestic investors hence it is the business hub of South Africa. âThe agency is entrusted to promote the province of KwaZulu-Natal as a premier investment destination and to facilitate trade and by assisting local companies to access international markets. The organization identifies, develops and packages investment opportunities in KwaZulu-Natal; provides a professional investment promotion; brands and markets KwaZulu-Natal as an investment destination; retains and expands trade activities and links opportunities to the developmental needs of the KwaZulu-Natal community, said Gwala.
Speaking on behalf of Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ), Mr Sihle Ngcamu the Executive Manager for Business Development said RBIDZ was established in the year 2002, under the Industrial Development Zone programme to promote foreign direct investments. RBIDZ is tasked with acquiring land be it from government, municipalities and or even private sector, zone it accordingly, develop infrastructure for that particular land and market the land to potential investors. The entity currently has 216 hectors of land which have been zoned for medium and heavy industry, with an aspiration of expanding the land to 3000 hectors. The sectors of focus for RBIDZ emanates from a 50 year master plan, which is then programmed into 10 intervals in terms of implementation, which has led into the organisation developing a marketing strategy that identifies opportunities and sectors that are comparative for the area of Richards Bay.
Acting Chief Executive Officer for Dube Trade-Port, Hamish Erskine gave a brief history of Dube Trade-Port. The organisation is mandated to reposition KwaZulu-Natal in the global supply chain through the enablement of new air services and provision of state-of-the-art facilities, an IT platform providing value-added services, leading edge spatial planning and facilitating the supply of products to export markets. He further unpacked the core business units for Dube Trade Port. The business Units include the Cargo Terminal which is operated by Dube Trade Port, Property is second business unit, the organisation owns industrial and commercial property, Agri-Zone is another business Unit which is host to the largest climate-controlled glass-covered growing area in Africa. It aims to stimulate the growth of KwaZulu-Natal's perishables sector and affords the opportunity to achieve improved agricultural yields, consistent quality. Dube Trade Port has a 50 year master plan development which is now being integrated into a wider aerotropolis in partnership with the government.
KwaZulu-Natal Growth Fund Chief Executive Officer, Siddiq Adam gave a meaningful insight on the KZN Growth Fund. This is an initiative of the provincial Department of Economic Development Tourism and Environmental Affairs established (EDTEA) in 2008; it was the first in the country in terms of public and private partnership which later became a public entity in 2014. From April 2015 they have expanded the product offering from senior and mezzanine debts to equity products. They are now able to invest anywhere in South Africa as opposed to previously operating in KZN only. KZN Growth Fund finances a broad range of sectors such as Education, Health and Safety. In terms of mandate when looking for finance KZN Growth Fund requires three elements, Job Creation (both direct and indirect), Black Economic Empowerment where the company has to have at least 30 percent black representation of shareholders and development of employee trusts where people around the area who operates the project to have a share in the project.
Speaking on behalf of Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry President of the Chamber, Mr Zeph Ndlovu delved deep on the journey of one of the largest and oldest chambers in the country, currently made up of more than 4000 businesses both in private and public sector. The chamber consists of businesses in the Durban area and a very strong influence within the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Their most influential areas include hospitality, tourism and property development. When asked the importance of one joining the chamber he said that one cannot afford to operate in isolation due to the dynamic and pressing challenges thus the chamber particularly the Durban Chamber offers a wide variety of networking space for businesses across various sectors. The Chamber is an advocacy voice of its members, taking into cognisance some of the legislative frameworks that are introduced which affect the business fraternity, where the Chamber takes a leading role in contribution to those legislation. Another advantage is linking small and medium sized businesses to large businesses and foreign mission in Durban and other countries.
Following the Panel discussion from the development agencies; the second panel discussion was the second panel discussion was made up of carefully selected business persons who are thriving in the KZN market to provide insight of doing business in KZN. These include Graham Wood a Hospitality and Tourism Advisor, Adrew Thompson the Development and Sales Director at eLan Group, Xolani Gumede the Chief Executive Officer at Cappeny Estates and Trenley Tilbrook the Business Development Manager at Tongaat Hulett.
The second destination for the In Conversation with KwaZulu-Natal will be held in Cape Town, on 15 March 2016. Cape Town is the economic hub of Western Cape, which is geographically, the 4th largest province in South Africa, occupying 129,462kmï¿½, approximately 10% of the total area of South Africa.
For more information about this, please contact Angel Sibisi on 031 368 9667 or 076 062 3779.