News & Events

Business Trade Fair

“On the 30th of March 2017, CMRA staff attended the Business Trade Fair, a close out meeting for the Business Climate Benchmark project implemented by the Centre for Local Capacity Building (CLCB). CLCB is a local Non-Profit Organisation (NPO), to which CMRA staff are occasionally seconded for project related work; the Business Climate Benchmark project is a case in point. CMRA staff were seconded to the CLCB for the implementation of this project”. 

The Business Trade Fair was held at The Capital Hotel and Conference Centre, Menlyn Maine, Pretoria. The Trade Fair marked the final meeting of the Business Climate Benchmark project which began in November 2015 and was funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Pretoria. Initiated with the aim of identifying ‘good practices’ in order to promote a conducive business environment in South African municipalities, the project has aimed to facilitate a platform for both municipalities and companies to interact and cooperate in identifying ways to improving the ease of doing business in municipalities in a manner that promotes job creation and growth of the local economy.

The Trade Fair was hosted by the Southern African Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (SANEC) in collaboration with the Centre for Local Capacity Building (CLCB). The Tshwane Economic Development Agency (TEDA) were partners in the Trade Fair as sponsors of the event and Heineken, a well-known Dutch company in South Africa, sponsored the networking session at the end of the Trade Fair. Municipalities participating in the Business Climate Benchmark project, along with over fifty businesses (predominantly Dutch companies in South Africa), were present at the Trade Fair. 

The purpose of the Trade Fair was to bring municipalities and businesses together to provide them with an opportunity to network and interact with the view of establishing relationships and possible partnerships for investment within the municipalities in the near future. Contributing to the promotion of public-private partnerships, through networking and linking municipalities and businesses, was central to the proceedings of the day. Over the years the public-private partnership approach has been lauded as a means to grow local economies and promote development- further highlighting the relevance of a project such as the Business Climate Benchmark which promotes the ease of doing business in municipalities.

An interactive programme design was used at the Trade Fair. Municipalities were given the opportunity to provide a three-minute reverse-pitch presentation, highlighting the main economic sectors within their municipality, major local economic development projects and key business investment opportunities within their municipalities. Likewise, the businesses present had the opportunity to showcase their work through presentations and stands at the Trade Fair as well as through paired one-on-one sessions with each of the municipalities present.

A plenary session entitled “The Ease of Doing Business in Municipalities” was held in the afternoon; Director of CLCB and CEO of the Centre for Municipal Research and Advice (CMRA), Ms. Letticia Naid was among the panelists for this session. The plenary session shed light on the challenges associated with doing business in a municipality; practices through which these challenges can be overcome and importantly, the necessary roles which both municipalities and businesses should play in order to improve the ease of doing business. The discussion also highlighted the need to bring about a shared ideal of “passionate-agility” in the Municipal-Business space. Good practice cases of where municipal-business partnerships are working well were shared by Midvaal local municipality and Dr Beyer’s Naude local municipality and served as encouragement to all stakeholders present.

The Business Trade Fair was a success and CLCB wishes to acknowledge the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Pretoria, the project’s fifteen participating municipalities, SANEC and all who have contributed to the successful implementation of the project. A Business Climate Benchmark report will be made available when the project closes at the end of April 2017. The report will highlight key findings of the Business Climate Benchmark questionnaire, good practice examples from participating municipalities and data relating to business climate indicators from these municipalities.