Entrepreneurs have been encouraged to grab opportunities that will arise soon as the City of Johannesburg turns into a giant construction site.
Addressing the second day of the City of Johannesburg’s Entrepreneurship symposium at the Joburg Theatre on Tuesday, 24 October 2017, Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba said his administration was serious about turning Joburg into a city of entrepreneurs.
One of the City’s priorities is to achieve 5% economic growth and to rejuvenate the inner city to encourage job creation and development.
“The Inner City will soon be a construction site. We will train young people to become qualified artisans. I’m here to create an enabling environment for economic growth,” said Mayor Mashaba, who added that the City had a R100 million infrastructure budget.
The mayor said political affiliation was immaterial as the City needed to respond to the needs of everyone. “You don’t need to belong to a particular political party to get government tenders,” said Mayor Mashaba.
The mayor told the 400 entrepreneurs from the City’s seven regions that he got his big break from a R30 000 loan from a Soshanguve-based businessman Walter Dube in January 1985.
“Right from the beginning, I was focused on freeing myself. My father passed away when I was just 2 years old. My grandfather adored me. He saved me. He taught me to be independent. I have always wanted to be financially and socially free from every injustice I grew up under. My wife played the biggest role in my life and I owe all I have to her. I worked for a salary for 30 months of my life earning R175 a month. I didn’t finish my studies but I’ve always read. Extensively so. You can’t manipulate the world if you don’t understand it,” said Mayor Mashaba.
In her closing address, City of Johannesburg’s Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development, Cllr Leah Knott, urged the entrepreneurs to work with the current administration to prioritise small business development.
“What we can do is to work together to implement strategies on how to run businesses. The city of Joburg is fortunate to have a mayor who fully understands the role and challenges of entrepreneurs,” said MMC Knott.
Some of the key industries that have been identified as key growth stimulators are:
• Urban Agriculture/Greentech/Cleantech
• Tourism (hospitality, retail and entertainment)
MMC Knott said the City would integrate all the feedback from the seven regional summits and the two-day symposium when they craft a pro-SMME strategy.