The City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, Alderman James Vos recently met with key stakeholders in the construction industry at the annual Construction Expo 2019, where representatives from small to medium enterprises (SME’s) converged to talk about all things bricks and mortar.
The City’s support of these sort of events creates a platform that highlights the critical sectors of our economy. This event provides participants with an opportunity to engage with the sector and gives everyone in attendance access to over 1,000 SME’s and 1,750 building sector professionals.
This multi-billion rand sector contributes over R20bn to Cape Town’s economy annually and holds enormous economic and social benefits for the city and its residents. Over 420,000 people are employed in this sector country-wide, of which 148,000 are based in Cape Town.
“Cape Town is renowned for being a world-class tourist destination. But I am pleased to mention that increasingly more businesses identify Cape Town as a forward-looking globally competitive city that is open for business and we are indeed serious about promoting the city as a business-friendly,” says Alderman Vos.
To achieve this, he says that the City is rolling out a number of initiatives to make ‘doing business’ with government easier and more fluid. “Our improved service offering includes: facilitating the reduction of red tape; business retention and expansion support; offering an advisory service to access talent pools; investment facilitation; and providing access to sector support.”
“We have introduced a One-Stop-Shop platform, known as the Business Hub that is located in the Strand Street Concourse, to provide support and assistance to entrepreneurs and start-ups. The City’s Development Management Department has also improved the building permit issue turnaround time from 45 days to an average of 17 days.
“We also launched the I Mean Business campaign among our employees, which seeks to embed an ease of doing business culture, mindset and deed. The aim is to ensure employees, systems and processes are all aligned towards improving the internal and external business environment for potential businesses to invest and grow.”
Supporting small businesses in construction
The City is currently supporting small businesses in the construction sector through the efficient provision of services such as good roads, refuse removal, and the provision of clean water, among other things; the efficient processing of applications and licenses; and investing in infrastructure development projects.
During the expo, the City will promote an array of enterprise and investment service offerings. In addition, the enterprise and supplier development team will activate a matchmaking platform that will give conference attendees the opportunity to engage with technical experts from the City and its special purpose vehicles about City business processes.
Through the matchmaking process, the City will be able to facilitate access to the right senior officials, sector body specialists, Wesgro and national agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Engagements with the construction sector to improve and streamline processes, to improve application quality and embarking on continuous system enhancements, are ongoing.
“This is the only event dedicated exclusively to the building and construction industry. It’s a unique opportunity for product manufacturers and distributors as well as service providers to network with key buyers from the sector and with government,” says Alderman Vos.
The construction sector is a vital priority sector for the City, as identified in the revised Inclusive Economic Growth Strategy (IEGS).
“As the City, we know that our work goes beyond providing basic services and we are committed to working with all sectors to promote and retain investment, grow the economy and create much-needed employment,” he concludes.