The seventh annual Proudly South African (SA) Buy Local Summit and Expo, taking place next month, will have a strong focus on small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs), CEO Eustace Mashimbye said on Tuesday.
Promoting the summit at an event in Johannesburg, he stated that Proudly SA’s Buy Local Summit was a platform for talking, as well as listening, with two days of presentations, panel discussions and workshops aimed at creating awareness of the important role local procurement plays in the growth of South Africa’ economy.
“The first day of the summit will be focused on an SMME workshop, dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs and small business owners through a series of talks by industry experts,” he said.
Mashimbye added that the workshop would also give these companies access to organisations and institutions that regulate, legislate and register the SMME sector, whose red tape can be complex to navigate.
“We really want to focus on SMMEs, as they are the backbone of the economies of most countries. Developed countries have plans in place that help develop this sector, and help [small businesses] to thrive and create jobs,” he said.
He added that, with the high unemployment rate in South Africa, it was important to support local business.
“Through the SMME workshop, we hope to give small businesses access to markets,” he noted.
Mashimbye stated that this year’s conference theme would be ‘Local Procurement: Policy of Preference?’ and that the second day of the free-to-attend conference would include speaker sessions, a visit to the expo and a roundtable that will unpack political party manifestos in relation to local procurement issues in the build-up to the 2019 elections.
“The workshop, event and expo are all free to attend to the public, but we urge people to register as soon as possible,” he said.
The summit and expo will take place on March 14 and 15 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.