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NMB Business Chamber announces new Initiatives at 2018 AGM

By Jesica Slabbert - May 17, 2018
NMB Business Chamber announces new Initiatives at 2018 AGM

The Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) Business Chamber hosted their 8th Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Radisson Blu Hotel on Wednesday to highlight their achievements for the year as well as announce the new initiatives that have gained momentum from last year.

The Business Chamber is a representative of a broad spectrum of businesses in Nelson Mandela Bay with membership in excess of 700 businesses.

Thomas Schaefer, Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber President, spoke about how the economic environment is affected by external forces and characterized by slow growth, but that the recent outlook is positive.

“The election of President Ramaphosa has brought a certain level of credibility and hope in the future of the country. While it remains to be seen whether this hope does indeed translate into acceptable levels of economic growth, first indications are that moves in dealing with allegations of corruption and addressing unemployment are encouraging,” said Schaefer.

Schaefer took the opportunity to announce the progress of new initiatives that were announced at last years AGM.

“The impact of the Business Chamber’s initiatives should catalyse economic development in the city. It became very clear that the Business Chamber should also participate in efforts to promote investment and growth in the Metro,” stated Schaefer.

“The Business Chamber approached the Metro within its Metro Collaboration Task Team to partner in setting up a One-Stop-Shop for investment promotion into the region. The investment promotion element incorporates research, cluster development, ease of doing business and marketing the city to various cities and countries for investment,” said Schaefer.

Another new initiative from the Business Chamber will be the start of the first-ever Bay H2O Conference and Exhibition.

“This is a one-day Water Conference and Exhibition to be held on the 24th of July 2018. We decided to host the conference following a survey done in February, which solicited the views of our members about drought, water scarcity and water restrictions. Water is essential for business and the reality of South Africa as a water scarce country has further motivated the Chamber to create this platform,” Schaefer explained.

In order to assist the growth of local SME’s, the Exporters Development Programme was launched in March 2018 in partnership with the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC). This programme has been assisting SME’s get over the barrier of exporting and allowing them to expand and grow.

“In creating an export platform for emerging SME exporters, the Business Chamber in partnership with the Dti, is in the process of finalizing and outward trade mission to Germany for a group of 10 to 15 businesses,” said Schaefer.

The Business Chamber also announced in 2017 that after many years of lobbying the Addo road would be upgraded by SANRAL to become a national road.

“With passion, people, drive, funding and collective effort, we could make the city and investment destination of choice. There is great potential, and with a collective push in the right direction, great results can be achieved.”