Continued development support offered by Western Cape organisations will aid manufacturing growth in the Western Cape, says event organiser Siyenza MD Liz Hart. These organisations comprise the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, Wesgro; City of Cape Town nonprofit organisation GreenCape; the provincial government; and national government, through the Department of Trade and Industry.
Commenting on the annual Western Cape Manufacturing Indaba, held at the Century City Convention Centre in Cape Town last month, she adds that the event has boosted the growth potential of manufacturers in key sectors such as automotive, construction, metals, forestry, paper and packaging, chemicals and the green economy.
The Indaba provides a platform for informative and interactive sessions including knowledge-sharing pertaining to incentives offered by government that are available in the Western Cape to support manufacturers. She states that many manufacturers are keen to learn more and apply for these incentives.
The event hosted, for the first time, the Business Matchmaking Programme, where 74 business meetings were held to provide manufacturers with an opportunity to engage, network and meet government officials, other manufacturers and service providers to manufacturers. This led to manufacturing opportunities being explored and unlocking the support offered by leading government stakeholders in the Western Cape.
The event, which hosted 12 exhibitors and 164 delegates, also focused on the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and what this means for manufacturers, with a focus on providing the latest information, what manufacturers need to know and how this can impact their businesses. However, the key discussion was on the future of manufacturing and the latest trends in the sector.
Meanwhile, Hart says well-versed industry leaders shared their knowledge of opportunity development and management of threats while proactively implementing strategies to fortify a competitive advantage and boost profits through the digitalisation of manufacturing operations.
Forums has been established to educate players in the manufacturing domain about various financing opportunities available to manufacturers. These dialogues explored funding options to encourage investment in South Africa’s manufacturing facilities, and assisting them in initiating and executing potential projects.
“Numerous conditions are required to be met . . . for business to gain access to funding initiatives and these panels serve as platforms to inform potential applicants thereof,” alerts Hart.
The Indaba also offered a stage for robust discussion and debate on the ever-changing nature of the manufacturing landscape, in which constant access to emerging markets is deemed as essential.
“Managing these changes requires a thorough understanding of economic trends that will have a significant impact on manufacturers. Further, forums led by industry experts unpacked prevalent growth opportunities in the small business manufacturing environment and how these smaller enterprises ultimately enable the accelerated growth of larger, more established manufacturing units,” she tells Engineering News.
Challenges that the Western Cape manufacturing sector face were also discussed, although economic consultancy Econometrix economist Jeffrey Dinham pointed out during the Indaba that developments in the sector were encouraging, with a 15.6% contribution to total manufacturing gross domestic product (GDP) and 15.3% provincial GDP while manufacturing employment in the province contributed 29.7%, equating to 17% of total manufacturing employment.