South Africa would for the first time ever host the yearly International Small Business Congress, bringing together entrepreneurs and small business role players from around the world, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Monday.
The congress would take place from September 15 to 18 at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg, with more than 1 000 delegates expected.
Davies said the gathering would provide for a platform to benchmark and draw lessons from both developed and developing countries to help sharpen policy development and high impact programmes in the South African small to medium-sized enterprise sector.
The congress will be hosted in collaboration with the City of Johannesburg, the Foundation for African Business and Consumer Services, the Small Enterprise Finance Agency, the Small Enterprise Development Agency and the Industrial Development Corporation.
MTN Business, Absa Bank and Shanduka Black Umbrellas is providing sponsorship.
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 Brics [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa].
“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,” Davies added.