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Boost for Veeplaas entrepreneurs as Metro opens incubator space

By Afikile Lugunya - Oct 31, 2017
Boost for Veeplaas entrepreneurs as Metro opens incubator space

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality on Tuesday officially opened the Veeplaas Business Hive that will assist township businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs with business support and training.

This business hive is the first of its kind in the township, and joins the main branch, situated in Kwantu Towers, on Vuyisile Mini Square.

The main objective of this initiative is to create ease of access and convenience for township entrepreneurs, who often struggle to travel back and forth to the CBD for the services provided by the incubator, due to financial constraints. According to Metro, it is a reinforcement of one of the Mandela Bay Municipality's development pillars of creating an opportunity City.  

The centre will function as an incubator for Veeplaas and surrounding emerging businesses. It has been designed to provide various services to local entrepreneurs, capacitating them to grow into formidable and sustainable businesses. The centres are run under the guidance of the Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture Directorate.

Supported by The Business Place, which will provide free Wi-Fi for beneficiaries, networking service, business to business networking opportunities, regular business information and workshops, the Hive also offers business space in the form of kiosks.

Speaking at the event, on behalf of The Business Place, Grant Tobias, added that they will also assist the incubatees with access financing from organisations such as the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and others.

Tobias said that the Hive will do a lot for the people of Veeplas, especially emerging business people.

In support of the initiative, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip,

During a tour of the Hive, the Mayor bought ten rostils sold by women, who are now occupying some of the kiosks. The women described to Mayor that they make them for school children, hence they cost just R1.50.

While delivering his speech, Mayor Trollip challenged local residents, especially young people to find ways of creating jobs for themselves.

"When we talk about 'vukuzenzele', we ar saying you must wake up and do things yourself. Of course, we will be there to ensure that you get the necessary support," he said.

"So the municipality itself runs a one-stop-shop to assist businesses and address all the business needs of entrepreneurs in one go - that is eliminating red tape.

"We offer assistaence with things like incentives, rezoning, building plans, business licenses and uitilities."

He also made an example of a young girl, who used to work at a shoe factory - cutting leather and passing it to another person at the factory to do the next step.

The Mayor took off his shoe and showed it to everyone in the room. He said that the shoes he was wearing were made by that girl, which inspires him a lot as he thinks about her every time he wears his shoes.

“The reason why I’m wearing these shoes today is because I met a girl called Roxane, whose father was a cobbler - made shoes. She went to work at a factory where she used to cut pieces of shoes everyday sitting in one chair and doing the same thing the whole day,” Cllr Trollip described.

“This girl went to ABSA where they have a programme that benefits young people, who helped her start her shoe business.

“We must not underestimate ourselves because we can do more just like this girl Roxane, who now owns a factory.

“Roxanne is an inspiration to me and I wear her shoes with pride because they remind me of her story and because they are comfortable."

The Executive Mayor adde; “If you work hard and commit yourself to grow your business, the Municipality will give you full support. We are doing this because we understand that a successful local business will not only benefit the owner, it will also assist in creating much-needed jobs and be an inspiration to others.”

Job creation

Concerning jobs, Trollip said that through the Job Fund, the city has created employement opportunities for more than 2 500 people through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

He added that two big companies have also opened call centres in the Bay and have employed 400 graduates each.

The Mayor said that the municipality is keen to make sure that local graduates find employment here and not leave to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Ward Councillor, Mbulelo Gidane,  who welcomed the guests at the event said that, “whilst this might be an ordinary event to everbody else, it is a big day for the Veeplaas community. This incubator will change lives!”.

For further information, Veeplaas emerging businesses and aspiring business people can contact the centre directly at 041 450 1940 or visit their Facebook page @The Business Place – Nelson Mandela Bay or website at www.tbp-nmb.co.za.

People may also visit the newly opened Veeplaas Offices on the corner of Koyana and Kani Streets.