The City of Cape Town has launched a mobile business help desk, aimed at taking business support and services to the communities.
The mobile hub, launched outside the Civic Centre on Thursday March 11, follows the model of the business hub opened at the Strand Street Concourse in 2019.
It will go out to communities and engage with entrepreneurs, run workshops and support small businesses with advice including starting and growing a small business; red tape reduction; investing in the city; business development and compliance.
The Mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, James Vos, said since the opening of The Business Hub in the Strand Concourse in August 2019, the City has assisted thousands of businesses. He said the mobile hub will enable them to take services to more residents, where they are located.
In 2020, The Business Hub at the Concourse received 2 850 service requests and resolved 98% of these within two working days, said Mr Vos.
Over the past six months, The Business Hub has supported 380 businesses with product and supplier development workshops, by cutting red-tape to make it easier to do business and to compete for big business, he added.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic pushed many businesses into uncertainty, and many businesses needed support to help them stay afloat.
“Businesses, especially small businesses, are the backbone of the city, and the mobile hub will help us work with the community to supplement and compliment business opportunities, and also to connect businesses with city services and support programmes.
“We aim to grow local business through support programmes as well as provide access to new markets and business development assistance.”
Mr Vos said while there was a lot of work to do when it comes to the economy, the mobile hub is a step in the right direction.
He said the mobile hub will have a team working on the minibus depending on the needs of the community and the programmes they will run on specific days.
Mayor Dan Plato said the mobile hub offers a glimmer of hope for businesses during the trying times the City is experiencing.
Mr Plato said it wasn’t a good thing to hear about businesses suffering, but it was the reality, and that they should try to keep the doors open of as many businesses as possible.
“Businesses are often operating directly within communities and with the Covid-19 pandemic adding limitations and pressures to the way business is done, we need to be more innovative to assist entrepreneurs with growing their skills and expanding their income opportunities.
“Now more than ever, we can offer support to enable people to start new ventures and empower themselves. A small business owner is feeding a family, paying school fees and trying to create security for their family.”
Cape Town Tourism chairperson Enver Duminy, who was also at the launch, said this was an exciting time for small businesses who were struggling to get to the hub in the CBD for support.
He said the venture helps business and government build relationships and support each other.
“Tourism is also a business, and this hub will compliment our mobile information centre with a similar model. The hub is creating a nice eco-system for businesses – including tourism, of government, entrepreneurs and support.”
The Mobile Business Hub will hit the road and, over the next few months, will visit a number of communities to offer on-site business support.
To view a schedule of where the Mobile Business Hub will be and when, visit www.investcapetown.com