The Standard Bank Regional Conference, organized by the Mossel Bay Business Chamber’s was an incredibly successful and insightful event which brought together a number of key players from a variety of industries.” It’s clear to see the impact and benefit the Business Chamber has on its members by providing a forum where industry leaders can come together and work towards a more efficient future for industry in the area.” These were the words of Matthew Chapman, divisional head insurance of Merchant Capital, one of the companies that shared their vision for the area at the Standard Bank Regional Conference that was held at Diaz Hotel & Resort last week.

“We found that our presentation was very well received and that our Pay-As-You-Trade offerings were especially beneficial to businesses in the area that experience high seasonality,” Chapman said and added that they will certainly be working closely together with the Business Chambers along the Garden Route in the future to assist with reducing cash flow pressures on seasonal businesses in the region.

The conference was an interesting spinoff from the highly successful conference that took place in Mossel Bay last year and that placed the emphasis on development in the tourism, agriculture, petroleum and harbour development.

“This year we just extended the invitation to other towns within a 280km radius to come and share their best practices and to introduce their unique selling points in order to learn from one another and to create a more powerful selling tool in marketing the region,” said Fanus Truter, chairman of the Mossel Bay Chamber.

Standard Bank, the major sponsor of the conference was represented by several interesting speakers who all placed a new perspective on how Standard Bank plays a vital role in the development of the region as well as the country. Andre Jonker, regional manager of the Southern Cape highlighted the role of the bank in the region while Willem Visser from Stanlib gave an overview of the economic trends in the area and how these compare with the other provinces. Tasha Ferreira, business and commercial services emphasised the multitude of opportunities that the bank offers in embarking on the rest of Africa.

The port of Mossel Bay is one of South Africa’s eight commercial ports and the question is often raised on the matter of the increase in capacity of this asset. The good news is that the Port of Mossel Bay is open for business. “As a key role player in growing the economy of Mossel Bay, participating in organised business initiatives of this nature forms an integral part of our stakeholder engagement and management initiatives,” according to Transnet’s David Keller.

Jean de Villiers, ex Springbok captain (2012 – 2015) and now presenter on SuperSport, head of Philanthropy at Citadel and head of Business Development of Prepaid24, highlighted the key role that sport plays in the social integration as well as economic development. “We as individuals, families, organisations and businesses as well as municipalities have the responsibility to take ownership of this,” he added.

Another celebrity that captured the attention was Minki van der Westhuizen, television personality and presenter of “Boer soek ‘n vrou” on KykNet. Minki shared some of her experiences in front as well as behind the cameras and highlighted the opportunities that are available in this area in this industry.
The conference was well orchestrated by the facilitator and programme presenter, Bun Booyens. On Friday night Booyens, a media specialist and former editor of Die Burger and the travel magazine Weg, had the audience in stitches as he took them down memory lane with interesting visuals and tit-bits around Die Burger 100 Years.

(Denise Lloyd)

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