Posted on 2021-03-05 08:33:36
Proudly South African marks its 20th anniversary
By Eustace Mashimbye
This year marks the 20th anniversary since Proudly South African opened its doors. Ten years into our existence, we launched our inaugural Buy Local Summit & Expo, held at Emperors Palace, held on just one day and with fewer than 100 exhibitors. So, 2021 should have been our 10th annual event. Instead, because we were forced to cancel last year's edition (in a sad twist of date fate, it was scheduled for a week later than usual, otherwise it would not have been caught by the first lockdown) this year is only our 9th - and at the same time it's our very first virtual, online conference and exhibition.
The new, complicated and demanding requirements of a virtual event notwithstanding, there are many advantages to this format, including that we can now attract delegates from all over the country and indeed the world. We can also showcase more Proudly SA member companies in the virtual expo without the constraints of floor space.
Our programme, under the theme Localisation as a driver of economic growth, has fewer presentations, favouring conversational panels where ideas can be bounced around and the panelists can respond to each other. We will be streaming the Summit from the Sandton Convention Centre, the traditional home of the event, where we will be hosted by our member company, Tsogo Sun, and with the country now in Level 1 of the Covid-19 restrictions, most of our speakers will be able to attend in person.
The programme includes sessions for SMMEs - in a show of public and private sector support for an important and dynamic part of our economy, the Department of Small Business Development and SA Breweries will share a platform to discuss opportunities they offer to nurture entrepreneurs. We will also be running a Brand Leadership for Entrepreneurs workshop, with Brand Leadership founder and business guru Thebe Ikalafeng. Thebe will also present a short session on opportunities for export into Africa in the context of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
If anybody wonders if so -called famous entrepreneurs have it any easier when it comes to funding and building a brand, we will be joined in one of our panels by a handful of local celebrities who will tell us about their respective journeys in the SA business world. (visit www.buylocalsummit.co.za to find out who and to register for this or any of the other sessions!)
We will be unpacking 20 years of the buy local movement in South Africa with a panel of past and present Chairpersons of the Proudly South African board including founding chairman, Tim Modise and the second chair, Adv. Dali Mpofu. Contributing to the same discussion will be veteran journalists Peter Bruce and Leanne Manas, the latter a long time friend of the campaign, the former, whilst a supporter of buying local, has been a critic of some of the trade measures taken to protect local manufacturing.
If you have business challenges, we have the Business Solutions Hub streaming on 8 March during which a number of institutions and regulatory bodies that legislate business will be online to assist with questions and queries, and if you are in supply chain and looking to increase your levels of localistion, our virtual expo, with over 100 Proudly South African member companies includes online B2B networking space.
But, we are most proud of the fact that the keynote address on Tuesday 9th March will be given by President Cyril Ramaphosa, broadly based on the theme of the Summit. Following his presentation, a panel of business experts including Dr Stavros Nicoloau, Dr. Thabi Leoka and Prof Bonang Mohale will unpack the content of the speech.
The endorsement of the President serves to underline the emphasis that is increasingly being placed on the buy local movement. We are determined, with his support, to continue for a further 20 years and beyond to make a difference in the procurement habits of the public, private and consumer sectors, working with retailers, big business and other stakeholders in the drive to increase the uptake of locally manufactured, grown and produced goods and services. The reinvigoration, through a raft of measures, of the manufacturing sector of the country, is imperative in steering the economy back on a growth path including the creation of millions of much needed jobs. Local procurement and localisation are indeed significant drivers of that economic growth, and we urge anyone with an interest in increasing their own levels of local procurement through a business supply chain or in their daily lives, to visit www.buylocalsummit.co.za and register for any, some or all of the sessions on offer.
This remains the prime event where anyone looking for locally made products and services for their households or businesses can find us - perfectly captured in the song from Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa, "eMcimbini, ku la u zosithola khona" which means "at the event is where you will find us".
Eustace Mashimbye is the CEO of Proudly South African