MSME district summits for business growth in Eastern Cape

In a concerted effort to foster an integrated micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) ecosystem, the Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) is conducting the MSME District Summits across the districts as a bottom-up approach to fuel the growth and development of the business sector in the province.

MEC for DEDEAT, Mlungisi Mvoko, revealed that the summits align with implementing the Eastern Cape Provincial MSME strategy’s Pillar Four, Public and Private Partnerships. Other pillars include research focus, law policy and service delivery.

During the summit’s first day, representatives from various business chambers voiced their support. Odwa Voyi, speaking on behalf of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NAFCOC), emphasised the essential role of MSMEs in fostering business growth and achieving positive social impact. He also highlighted the challenges faced by MSMEs in the Alfred Nzo district, including a lack of market access, financial constraints, and skills shortages, among many others.

Meanwhile, Zolile Mosweo, representing the Alfred Nzo Business Chamber, underscored the importance of government support for rural MSMEs, especially in the areas of manufacturing and industrialisation.

The highlights of the first day of the summit include exhibitions of products and services by MSMEs, a keynote address by the MEC for DEDEAT, inputs from the business sector, presentations from DEDEAT on the Eastern Cape Provincial MSME strategy, and the Alfred Nzo District Municipality (ANDM) on its Local Regional Economic Development strategy. ANDM’s input included ongoing programmes in the district corridor, such as infrastructure upgrades like roads and dams. Presentations on services offered to MSMEs by DEDEAT and government agencies were also featured.

The summit at Imvomvo Lodge in eMaxesibeni aims to raise awareness about the Provincial MSME Strategy, consolidate district support, identify collaboration opportunities, recognise MSME contributions and foster cooperation.

Themed “Building an Integrated MSME Ecosystem that Contributes to the Economic Growth of the ANDM,” the summit commenced today and will conclude on December 8, 2023.

It features service presentations and discussions from stakeholders such as the Eastern Cape Development Corporation, National Youth Development Agency, Small Enterprises Development Agency, Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency, MSMEs, and business associations.

The event highlights the significance of collaborative partnerships for sustainable growth in the MSME sector.