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Jozi entrepreneurs given the platform to launch themselves

The Diepsloot Youth Centre in the City of Johannesburg’s Region A was the place to be for entrepreneurs on Thursday November 3. 
This is where the City’s Department of Economic Development hosted a roadshow aimed at empowering aspirant and already established businesspeople with information to set them on the right path and grow their businesses.
Representatives of various companies, organisations and government entities delivered presentations to assist the entrepreneurs achieve their goals. They included Nedbank, Gauteng Liquor Board, Gauteng Department of Tourism, Jozi SME Hub, City of Johannesburg’s Supply Chain Management, Gauteng Treasury’s Supply Chain Unit and the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC).  The entrepreneurs were taken through the various processes they needed to follow when doing business with government institutions.  
Ali Sithole, from the Youth Desk of the City’s Community Development Department, encouraged young people to “create your own employment by establishing your own companies”.  “Our key role is to ensure young people with entrepreneurial skills are afforded the opportunity [to realise their dreams]. We believe that you learn business by doing it. We offer young people internships and linkages to business opportunities. The idea is to empower them to develop our economy,” said Sithole. 
NHRBC official Alfred Serokolo said the roadshow was important as it provided the council with a platform to create awareness of the business it was involved in.  “Our target is mainly the construction industry and home owners. Yes, our processes are quite strict for those who want to enter the industry. This is because we want people to get their money’s worth. Through our systems we can easily track all our contractors,” said Serokolo.
Terrence Dzeli, chairman of the Region A Business Forum, said his members took the roadshow seriously.  “This is about development. It is also part of the Township Economy Revitalisation Programme. It was about time we took advantage of such programmes,” said Dzeli.
Various speakers emphasised that to access opportunities made available by government institutions, one needed to ensure that one’s business documents were in order at all times.  Some of the concerns raised during the question-and-answer session included the lack of finance, poor support from government entities and the exploitation of sub-contractors by big construction companies.
The City’s Department of Economic Development said these issues would be taken up with the relevant stakeholders. Feedback would be provided at a follow-up meeting.​