The week-long Durban Business Fair (DBF) programme, which empowered a number of entrepreneurs while exposing over 550 local businesses to an international audience, ended yesterday, 18 October 2015.
The event, which started on Tuesday, 13 October 2015, was a phenomenal success.
The DBF Exhibition held at the Durban Exhibition Centre over three days attracted over 12 500 visitors. Another aspect of the programme was the business conference which entrepreneurs hailed a success as they were inspired by the high-profile speakers who encouraged them to never stop striving to achieve their goals.
The second leg of the programme was the second DBF Excellence Awards held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre. American author, inspirational speaker and television personality Iyanla Vanzant delivered a powerful talk on the power of a strong no and a powerful yes in life.
Vanzant told the aspirant entrepreneurs to stand by decisions taken to improve their businesses and not feel it necessary to explain those decisions to others.
Vanzant also visited various heritage sites around Durban including the KwaMuhle Museum and Inanda Heritage Route to learn about the City’s rich history. She also motivated young women in Umlazi and Inanda Seminary not to focus on anger and hold grudges but to rather dedicate their energy to advancing themselves.
Winners of the DBF Excellence Awards walked away with a host of prizes including R5 000 sponsored by ABSA Bank to invest in their businesses, a tablet powered by Vodacom and a one-year Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) membership.
Agatha Dzanibe of The Perfect Rock Co-operative walked away with the Rural/Township based business excellence award, Jeanie Nel of Hatz by Jeanie was crowned the winner in the Women Owned business category while the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) Excellence Award was won by Mlungisi Zwane of Siyazenzela Trailers. The Youth Owned business award was won by Menzi Ndlovu of Impunga Holdings.
Mlungisi Zwane, Managing Director of Siyazenzela Trailers which generates an approximate annual turnover of R3.2 million, was humbled by his win. The company teaches young people about manufacturing and starting their own businesses.
“I am deeply honoured and humbled for my business to be recognised among the excelling and growing companies that is making a difference in the lives of eThekwini residents,” he said.
The DBF also featured the first ever Youth Corner, where young people were inspired by the stories of young, successful entrepreneurs about their journey and how they found their place in the business world.
The DBF was held under the theme ‘Connecting local businesses to the rest of the world’ with a number of business meetings held between local and international businesses under the International Pavilion to encourage possible links and future export opportunities.
To encourage innovation the City held Speed Marketing Sessions where exhibitors were given a platform to creatively pitch their products to potential buyers and investors in 60 seconds. The winning two SMMEs walked away with a tablet each to advance their technological connectivity, knowledge and skills.
Another innovative feature at the Fair was the Technology Innovation Village which included six newly established creative and technology based companies who were given an opportunity to showcase their services. This was sponsored by Technology Innovative Agency.
The DBF exhibition concluded with the announcement of the winners of the best stand competition.
Imbokodo General Trading won this category; Afropoetic came in second place while Harvest Floral Design took third place.
All three winners were given a free exhibition stand at the 2016 Durban Business Fair as well an E-commerce website design, an online business course and one year DCCI membership.
EThekwini Deputy Mayor and Chairperson of Economic Development and Planning Committee Nomvuzo Shabalala said: “The number of activities that took place throughout the week of the DBF proves that eThekwini is serious about developing local businesses to ensure they are ready to take on any project regardless of how big or small it is. This exposure will also give them access to international markets.”
Shabalala said initiatives such as the DBF also assisted in dealing with challenges such as unemployment and poverty.