To celebrate and honour women this Women’s Month, the KZN Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs hosted a robust Young Women Business Dialogue at the Durban ICC on Tuesday.

The aim of the event was to encourage women to take advantage of opportunities and to address challenges facing businesses. The event exposed KwaZulu-Natal women and youth to business opportunities that are available to them as well as created an opportunity to network with executives and specialists from the government and private sector entities who focus on funding, export, trade and investment opportunities.

The theme for the event was, “Think equal, build smart and innovate for change in the Fourth Industrial Revolution era,” with the focus on funding options available to the women and entrepreneurs in general.

Implemented through Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN), an official investment and trade promotion agency of the KZN provincial government. The entity aims to promote KZN as an investment destination and an eminent trade partner, as well as assist KZN-based companies to export.
 
Delivering her keynote address, the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube said that the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs have mandated all its entities to do more to unleash the power of women in the province. “ We want women to be perpetually engaged in political and economic debates. They must drive all programmes aimed at determining how to achieve equal opportunities and a sound economy.” Said Dube-Ncube.

“As women we have a responsibility to fast track women’s entry into the economy. We hope that women will be involved in shaping our economy and our policies. “Think equal, build smart and innovate for change in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The ICT sector helps prepare women for the enterprises of the future. Government is committed to ensure that business support is geared towards the future. That could be your business,” said Dube-Ncube.

Carol Coetzee, chief executive officer of KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission unpacked programmes that are initiated by the Film Commission and urged everyone to start watching local content to support the local economy. 

“The film industry is one of the smallest sectors of the economy, which currently accounts for 10% of South Africa’s economy,” she said. Dumi Mbatha, senior manager for Investment Promotion at DubeTrade Port, said the 50-year masterplan is to build an airport city around the airport precincts. “It is imperative that as a province we cut down on the percentage of import, but rather encourage companies that manufacture essential goods such as condoms, anti-retroviral treatment and others,” said Mbatha. Affirming its commitment to the empowerment of women, the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, through its family of entities works closely with strategically-aligned partners to accelerate the advancement of women in business.