Manufacturing the Future

South African manufacturing needs to empower small businesses, according to the upcoming Manufacturing Indaba event set to take place in June, 2016

Small to medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) are the engine of economic growth and are essential for competitive and efficient economic growth.

Research has shown that SMMEs are critical for poverty reduction and can play a particularly important role in developing countries, as the largest provider of employment in most countries (especially of new job creation) and as a major source of technological innovation and new products.

However, the survival rate of SMMEs is relatively low. Fewer than half of newly established businesses survive beyond five years. This is not only true for South Africa, but is also a common phenomenon around the rest of the world. South Africa’s small businesses, especially those in strategic manufacturing industries, therefore require support and Government programmes to help establish themselves.

South Africa’s Government has identified manufacturing as a key growth sector to assist in boosting job creation and the wider economic growth rate. The Department of Trade & Industry’s (dti) Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) sets out the industrial policy objectives and plans for growth in South Africa’s manufacturing industries.

The Manufacturing Indaba, in partnership with the Department of Trade & Industry (dti), has identified small business as a key focus area for its 2016 event due to the urgent need for re-industrialisation in South Africa. This third iteration of the national event, to be held on 28-29 June, 2016 at Emperors Palace, Ekurhuleni will include the launch of the Small Business Indaba, which will take place on 27 June, 2016. The one-day conference is specifically focused on the growth opportunities for entrepreneurs within manufacturing who run small business operations.

“We have recognised the need for entrepreneurs and small business owners to get support and help in the manufacturing sector,” says Liz Hart, Managing Director of the Manufacturing Indaba. “We also realise that great manufacturing firms often started out small, and if we can assist small manufacturing businesses in getting off the ground, this will potentially have a mushroom effect on the country’s manufacturing sectors and industries.

“The Small Business Indaba will provide small and medium manufacturing businesses with access to the big manufacturers, to Government’s manufacturing role players and to the latest trends and ideas that will support their manufacturing growth plans.”

The theme of the 2016 Manufacturing Indaba is “Manufacturing the future”, with the aim of showcasing and exploring the ideas and technologies that can make South Africa’s manufacturing economies competitive in the global arena.

The third annual Manufacturing Indaba will bring together business owners, industry leaders, Government officials, investors and professional experts to discuss challenges and to brainstorm solutions with manufacturers.

The event boasts strategic partnerships with the Department of Trade & Industry (the dti), the Department of Science & Technology (DST), the host City of Ekurhuleni, the Department of Public Enterprises, the Manufacturing Circle and the NCPC-SA.

High-level speakers from both government and the private sector, including international manufacturing experts, will deliver key insights that will help South Africa’s manufacturers with their turnaround strategies and goals.