For the past two decades, eThekwini Municipality has intensified its support to businesses by providing an invaluable platform to showcase and market their products, network and create linkages through the Durban Business Fair (DBF).

To further stimulate the growth and sustainability of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), the Municipality will kick-start the DBF 20-year celebration programme by hosting the first Regional Fair at the Inner and Outer West of Durban in Hammarsdale Junction on 25-27 May.

The City is inviting all SMMEs to register for this three-day exhibition platform which will include a number of empowerment practices and seminars to be headlined by influential business people.

Interested businesses have until 16 May to register for the Inner and Outer West Regional Business Fair.

Regional Business Fairs are a lead-up to the main Durban Business Fair to take place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre from 18 to 23 September. Entrepreneurs are urged to also start registering for the main Fair.

Mayor Zandile Gumede said this year is all about celebrating the positive impact the Fair has had on emerging businesses. “The Fair has become a key tool for the City to accelerate the development of SMMEs.”

Gumede said the Fair has grown from strength to strength and managed to produce a number of remarkable entrepreneurs that have contributed in reducing the high unemployment rate.

“The fruition of the programme has also attracted global business empowerment events which were hosted alongside with the Fair in the previous years. “These include 19th International conference of small and medium enterprises and Essence,” she added.

Gumede said these yielded lucrative benefits for the City such as boosting its profile, economic status, creating employment and business linkages.

“As government, we are convinced that through small business development, we will be able to unlock economic opportunities and thus achieve inclusive economic growth as well as sustainable employment for the historically marginalised,” she added.

Deputy City Manager for Economic Development and Planning Cluster, Phillip Sithole said: “While the Durban Business Fair programme is the tool to expose and equip emerging businesses, it also serves as a banner that showcases all the opportunities and services available in the Municipality to businesses so that they will know exactly how to access those.”

He further stated that this year will also be about celebrating excellence amongst Durban businesses as some were conceived or launched twenty years ago at City Hall where the Fair started as a small event of crafters.

“This year’s key focus will be on youth development and township economies revitalisation. The Fair is the strategic platform to achieve economic development goals as it attracts esteemed businesses, private sector partners and investors who can identify opportunities and partner with us in driving radical economic transformation,” said Sithole.

The main DBF will provide a wide range of opportunities from various sectors including textile and clothing, technology, film, property and many more.

The South and North Regional Fairs will be hosted in July and August respectively and the dates will be communicated closer to the events.

Registration fee for SMMEs is R200 and forms are obtainable from the Business Support, Tourism and Markets Unit, 199 Anton Lembede Street formerly known as Smith Street, 7th Floor Embassy Building.

Forms are also accessible at the Municipal website: www.durban.gov.za

For further details, contact Fezile Nzuza on 031 311 4500 / 031 322 9971 or by email.