City’s inaugural Atlantis Business Expo showcases local small businesses and area’s economic potential

20 Oct 2022 in Where We Govern

This week, the City of Cape Town brought together entrepreneurs, investors, and other stakeholders for the inaugural Atlantis Business Expo.

The expo, which was open to members of the public, showcased some of the area’s small businesses active across a range of sectors, including security, construction, catering, and business consulting. Various public and private sector forums also hosted a series of information-sharing sessions.

‘Atlantis exemplifies the wealth of economic potential of Cape Town. The area has long been a manufacturing industry centre and we aim to carry that knowledge forward and connect the Atlantis community with the vast opportunities of emerging and related sectors. The City’s commitment to the community is made evident by its creation of the Atlantis Investment Facilitation Office (AIFO), which is tasked with helping to land and expand business opportunities in the area. The office was instrumental in the development and construction of nine new sites which have already created hundreds of jobs with more in the pipeline once those organisations are operational. The investments from these new businesses are also valued at approximately R2 billion,’ said Alderman James Vos, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth.

The area has in recent years become a hive of activity in the greentech sector through the establishment of the Atlantis Special Economic Zone. In the past year alone, four new investment projects have been approved while a further 12, representing a potential R3 billion in capital infrastructure, are in the pipeline.

At the end of 2020, the City transferred the general industrial-zoned properties to the ASEZ Company (SOC) Ltd in a deal that allows the organisation to legally contract on the land with prospective bidders.

Atlantis will be the site of the City’s first grid-connected solar plant next year as part of its interventions to end load-shedding over time. The City has issued the tender for engineering, procurement and construction of the planned 7MW Atlantis solar photovoltaic (PV) project. The plant is scheduled to start generating electricity in 2024 and be in operation for 20 years, with a foreseen annual output of 14,7GWh and is expected to result in a R47,2 million gross domestic product increase.

‘The City has been systematic and consistent in its approach to enterprise development of Cape Town’s SMMEs because industries such as greentech are still relatively new while the investment potential is massive. We have created the platforms to help land investments, and through our Enterprise and Supplier Development unit, we are upskilling local businesses so that they can capitalise on the opportunities presented. The unit has already hosted workshops in Atlantis, with 119 local businesses in attendance. AIFO, in partnership with the local sub-council and the ASEZ Company are also assisting SMMEs in the area with E-procurement vendor registration to get compliance for tenders,’ said Alderman Vos.

A highlight of the expo was the handover of certificates to the exhibiting entrepreneurs who participated in a series of workshops followed by pitches of their business plans.

One of the exhibitors, Jerome Evertson of Oakshield Security, whose business has been around for seven years, said one of his biggest challenges was getting other local companies’ buy-in as clients but that the bootcamp-style workshop had helped him to rethink his service offering.

‘The training gave me a whole new perspective on what my business is. I realised that my business isn’t the product but what I bring to the client. It’s peace of mind. The opportunities are there – this is an opportunity to exhibit and network. I’ve already spoken to some new potential customers. This is the first expo and I want to be involved and I see it growing. I’ll see you next year!’ said Evertson.

JP Cloete of M&B Fire Appliances said the expo allowed him to connect with new clients.

‘I want to thank the City for giving our company the chance to grow in the workshop and use the lessons learned there to guide us in how we should approach clients, thus helping us to sustain and grow our business,’ said Cloete.

‘Small businesses are the engine of jobs, innovation, and investment potential. Together with industry leaders, the City is working to unlock opportunities for communities just like Atlantis and all across the metro,’ said Alderman Vos.