Small Business Week

Small Business Week

Located at the Good Hope Centre in Cape Town, Small Business Week (SBW) gives the opportunity for small business owners to display their products and services.  In a convention layout, small businesses can network and gain new insight from other small business owners and from the City of Cape Town. Sponsored by the City of Cape Town and open to the public, they extend the invitation to any small businesses who wish to share their stories and provide valuable information to other businesses.

Our Experience

Our team heard about the event from our sponsor Dianne Womersley, and we were encouraged to visit the convention in order to gain new ideas for small business endeavors. As we walked around the showroom we met many people who were from townships throughout Cape Town and were running their own small businesses. From talking to these people, we learned that businesses were commonly started and backed financially by an external source.  Also, we found several business support organizations such as The Business Place, Clotex, and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

Qolothani Makhosikazi Social and Cultural Services

Located in Paarl, this non-profit organization has developed a job creation project within the Embekweni Township that benefits underprivileged women. Started by Dr. Gcwalisile Cynthia Zulu-Kabanyane in 2008, 16 women were hired and trained for 3 months in the skill of beading.  The women worked together and created jewelry as well as other beaded art to sell in hope of earning a good income.  However, the one woman we talked to at the SBW told us that 10 women from the group had dropped out of the program.  The main reason for this was because of the limited income they were receiving for the amount of work that had to put in.  This group was set up to work together, and the money from each item sold was split among all the women.

The Business Place

The Business Place provides important services for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs who are looking for more information on starting or expanding their small businesses. They are a national network with walk-in referral centres that can provide a strong environment for the creation of sustainable business. Their model is made up of  the government, private groups, and local communities. Their services include:

  • One on one consultations
  • Internet access
  • Legal Advice
  • Business networking
  • Micro-MBA workshops
  • Financial Institution referrals

During the three day convention period, the Business Place along with similar organizations were holding workshops run by a skilled staff.  They were open for anyone to sign up and learn about several business topics such as, small business management, finance, marketing, and franchising.


During our initial sewing training that was held at Berzack’s we were encouraged to look into Clotex for support in training community members.  The following day we went to SBW and found a booth dedicated to Clotex.  We found out that they are a local economic development agency that focuses on the clothing and textile industries in South Africa. Within Cape Town, they offer training sessions in Berzack’s, often for community members from townships similar to Monwabisi Park. We spoke to the woman who was working there about the Indlovu sewing centre operation in hopes of gaining a contact for future co-operative work between WPI and Clotex.