The Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs, and Tourism (DEDEAT) recently joined forces with the Minister for the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD), Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) to host the 15th Annual Stakeholder Forum (ASF).
The three-day programme, held in Port Alfred, aimed in part to unlock access to local markets and foster opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and cooperatives in the region.
The highlight of the event was the launch of the Crudastar Incubator by Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams in Makana Local Municipality. This initiative focuses on supporting businesses in the construction and agriculture sectors.
Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams delivered a keynote address at the launch of the Crudastar Incubator. The Minister also handed over equipment to small enterprises, underscoring the government’s commitment to supporting their growth and development.
The Crudastar Incubator is expected to have a long-term developmental impact by imparting knowledge about the business connectivity ecosystem to youth. This initiative is designed to transform tech-savvy young entrepreneurs into technology experts equipped with new 4IR-inspired digital skills.
Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams expressed her belief that the Crudastar Incubator would assist youth-owned enterprises in launching their projects and actively participating in the economic growth of the province.
On the first day of the ASF, DEDEAT, in collaboration with the Eastern Cape Development Corporation and the Coega Development Corporation, actively participated in various activities including, panel discussions.
Notably, several SMMEs that have benefited from DEDEAT group funding were featured in the exhibition. The Director for Enterprise Development at DEDEAT, Mbulelo Jolingana played a pivotal role in leading plenary sessions and facilitating discussions as the programme director. Meanwhile, SEDA closed the programme by sharing its performance results.
DEDEAT and its entities view the ASF as an opportunity to solidify their partnership with both the DSBD and SEDA.
The collaborative effort with these two and all other institutions with complementary mandates not only benefits the business community in the Eastern Cape but also helps coordinate and facilitate resources to support MSMEs, aligning with DEDEAT’s objectives of fostering economic growth and sustainability in the region.