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Over 260 delegates and exhibitors attend first-ever Eastern Cape Export Symposium

Mar 27, 2019
Over 260 delegates and exhibitors attend first-ever Eastern Cape Export Symposium

East London -  The first-ever Eastern Cape Export Symposium and Exhibition kicked off in East London on Wednesday with the aim of facilitating new trade collaborations between existing and export-ready small businesses from the province.

An initiative of the Eastern Cape’s official trade and investment agency, the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) in partnership with the Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela metros, the symposium attracted 230 delegates and 35 exhibitors and export-ready SMMEs in sectors such as tourism, manufacturing, agro-processing and the creative industries.

“We have various integrated export support programmes we are offering to SMMEs and to the exhibitors today which are aimed at improving the competitiveness of local entrepreneurs to ensure their readiness for the export industry. We offer small businesses export awareness seminars, export trainings, assistance with export registration and export readiness assessments.

Exhibitors have been showcasing their products and receiving export readiness assistance from industry experts. From an ECDC perspective, the symposium is not a talk shop in that we are helping export-ready companies to penetrate local and foreign markets through non-financial support,” says ECDC head of trade, investment and innovation Thabo Shenxane.

Huge turnout for Eastern Cape Export Symposium and Exhibition

The symposium has attracted experts from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Department of Trade and Industry (thedti), Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa, Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA), Port of Ngqurha, ECDC, Nelson Mandela Business Chamber, BCMM, Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, Nedbank and ABSA among others.

Shenxane says ECDC also has partnerships with the Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela metros which have led to the establishment of export helpdesks in East London and Port Elizabeth. The helpdesks offer export information and training and sector reports aimed at helping exporters and potential exporters.

“ECDC also has partnership with the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber which offers an exporter development programme which assists companies on the cusp of exporting.

Discussion topics at the symposium range from the state of exports in the Eastern Cape, the Eastern Cape Special Economic Zones, export finance, market development, the Export Development Programme and doing business with the various trade regional blocks,” says  Shenxane.

Shenxane says the Eastern Cape should rightfully be positioned and entrenched as an export hub. The province has the ingredients necessary to energise the trade sector and to facilitate foreign and local investment with the aim of increasing the number of exporters in the province and entering new markets.

In addition, the symposium will offer professional development, avail information on growth sectors and provide market and networking opportunities for emerging, existing and seasoned exporters. There will also be robust discussions on how to increase exports into Africa and elsewhere.

Image: ECDC Trade, Investment and Innovation head Thabo Shenxane, Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality acting general manager for Trade and Industry Xolelwa Majiza, Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality director for trade and investment Lutho Nduvane and ECDC senior manager export promotion Phakamisa George.

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