dmg events leads the way for South Africa’s exploding township economy

New advisory board to build solid foundations for sustainable economic growth

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Bheki Twala and Evan Schiff.

South Africa’s thriving township economy, which employs around 17% of our working population and represents millions of Rands in spending power, has been identified by leading global events company dmg events as a priority theme for next year’s portfolio of trade shows falling under the banner of Africa Trade Week 2023. 

The many formal and informal businesses operating within the vibrant township economy range from manufacturers and traders to retail and hospitality establishment owners, all providing goods and services that meet the wide range of social and economic needs within township communities. 

The Township Development Act, which was signed into law in Gauteng by Premier Makhura earlier this year, is a sign of the importance placed by government on unlocking new procurement and market opportunities for township businesses. However, according to portfolio director at dmg events Evan Schiff, there are many South African citizens who still do not understand what the township economy actually means, or how they can access it, or even benefit from it in a professional capacity. 

“dmg events is a primary supporter of the township economy, which is why the upcoming Africa Trade Week 2023 – featuring Africa’s Big 7, SAITEX and the Hotel and Hospitality Show – will have a deliberate focus on the township economy,” said Schiff. 

Earlier this week, dmg events appointed and convened with their new advisory board for Africa Trade Week 2023, which includes 40 professional men and women working within the township economy across the food, trade and hospitality sectors. The board came together to conduct a guided discussion that focused on the key issues facing township businesses and to identify new opportunities for growth through understanding the broader needs of this business community.

One of the primary challenges recognised by the group was access to finance. Board members recalled their own personal struggles with company debt and highlighted the need for expert guidance to better understand what is needed to qualify for finance, as well as accessing the right type of finance according to a business owners’ unique situation. 

Another issue discussed during the session was the challenge of accessing new equipment, and the upscaling of one’s business in order to compete with larger market players. Members also spoke of their interest in enhancing fundamental business skills such as marketing and product design, as well as the ins and outs of e-commerce and expanding into new markets.  

Bheki Twala, President of Township Economy Council South Africa said: “We have partnered with dmg to bring the township economy pavilion to the dmg platform, in order to have greater access to market, funding and investment, as well as access to information sharing and a wide, international network. We feel that it is a great platform to develop business within the township economy.”   

Schiff said: “In this modern world, we can’t do business alone – we need people and platforms to come together, to enable us to source the products we need and the customers we want. At dmg events, we build our shows around our buyers – and our newly appointed advisory board represents our buyers in the township economy and provide us with the strategic insight and guidance that ensures our content is relevant, topical, and valuable. We are excited to play a pivotal role in propelling South Africa’s township economy to its full potential and look forward to a successful year in 2023.”

About dmg events – South Africa

dmg events is a leading organiser of face-to-face events and a publisher of trade magazines.

We aim to positively impact the African economy and community by providing platforms for public and private sector professionals to connect and forge strong relationships that will drive the future of the African continent. 

dmg events has a portfolio of 80 events managed across 11 offices worldwide with two of those offices based in South Africa. The team organises 14 events in Africa, bringing together more than 30,000 professionals from the Construction, Infrastructure, Coatings, Mining, Transport, Food & Beverage, Trade and Hospitality sectors.