Wesgro – the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape – in partnership with Western Cape Government, City of Cape Town and key stakeholders - will look to ramp up support efforts for local businesses in 2021, as we brace for a challenging start to the new year.
The COVID-19 Content Centre is on standby to offer assistance to local businesses. Launched prior to the nationwide lockdown last year, the site serves as a dedicated online portal with interpretation of the latest government regulations, available business support and inspiring stories of business innovation and best practice. Supported by a virtual team of sectorial and communication specialists, the dedicated team answered the 2 853 queries received between 27 March and 6 October, simplified complex government legislature into 248 FAQs, with 253 172 visitors recorded to the site.
Furthermore, the Western Cape government’s Red Tape Reduction Unit - which assists businesses to navigate the regulations and cut through government red tape – is online and available to assist local businesses with any blockages.
Due to the alcohol ban in place until mid-February, the Export team has already kicked off a LinkedIn awareness campaign, urging local wine producers to sign up to the Cape Export Network, which matches producers of local wines with international importers. Since the platform launch in October, the team has onboarded 99 wine producers, featuring over 250 products. Producers are quickly and seamlessly onboarded via the online vendor registration, following which they are enabled to list their products on the site.
With exports cited as a key role player for the Province’s economic recovery in the remaining fiscal, the unit will soon be announcing a series of virtual missions to be hosted in the next few months, as well as virtual trade shows which will allow local companies an opportunity to expand their global footprint.
Resuming virtually on 8 February, will be Wesgro’s first Export Advancement and Promotion (EAP) programme for the new year, which provides companies with the necessary tools and technical assistance to build the competitive capacity and allow entry or expansion into key international markets. To apply for the session, please complete the online application form here.
Cutting through confusion of the adjusted Level 3 for travelers, Wesgro’s tourism unit, along with Western Cape Government’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism, launched www.safetravels.capetown to help visitors coming to enjoy the world-class tourism experience on offer in the province. The site provides vital travel information and health and safety guidelines for visitors to Cape Town and the Western Cape.
Keeping a close eye on the pandemic both locally and internationally, the unit is gearing to launch a second phase of their destination marketing campaign to ensure that the province remains top of mind for potential visitors.
To ensure that businesses remain open and more people get back to work, it is important that all employers and employees adhere to the critical safety measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. To this end, the Western Cape government have made available several valuable resources for employers and employees that can be found on the Western Cape government’s website, including the COVID-19 Business Complaints form, which provides employees and customers with the mechanism to report businesses that are not following the necessary health guidelines, to assist in stopping the spread of the virus in the workplace.
Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, commented: “There is no doubt that businesses have been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and as a result we have experienced significant job losses in the Western Cape, but we have also worked hard to save jobs and save businesses in the Western Cape, and we will continue to do so because when people have jobs, people have dignity, and when people have dignity, people have hope.”
“COVID-19 has had a significant economic impact, causing many businesses to have had sudden reductions on their incomes. In light of this, the City of Cape Town would like to remind businesses of the support that is available to them to try and offer some relief during this time. Support offered includes enhancing business retention and expansion efforts, enterprise development through the ease of doing business program, workforce development and training for high growth sectors, investment facilitation and promotion, and industry support provided in partnership by our Strategic Business Partners. The Business Support Programme, run through the Business Hub within the City’s Enterprise and Investment Department and in partnership with Productivity SA, provides assistance to small businesses in distress by proactively addressing the challenges businesses are facing and to prevent possible liquidation, closure or job losses. I encourage businesses in distress to contact the Business Hub on 021 417 4043 or visit the website,” added Alderman James Vos.
Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, concluded: “We encourage local businesses to make use of the support we have on offer by accessing www.supportbusiness.co.za, registering on our Cape Export Network marketplace, and joining our webinars and virtual missions to access new markets. Together with our partners in the public and private sectors, we remain dedicated to finding innovative, digital solutions to support business continuation.”