The first summit held by black businesses in South Africa and the United States is likely to result in increased investment and opportunities for companies and SMMEs in the two countries.
The South Africa-United States Black Business Summit, which is aimed at strengthening the global black economy, held its first inaugural meeting this week.
It was attended organisations from the US including the National Business League, B&C International and the Minority Business Development Agency, while South Africa was represented by the Black Business Council, the Trade, Industry and Competition Department and the South African Embassy in the US.
“With this platform, we can now enhance relationships to focus on these measures between South Africa and the US,” National Business League CEO Dr. Kenneth Harris told delegates.
He said these included the economic advancement of black businesses, access to capital and technical assistance, and black business enterprise development in both countries. “This also includes entrepreneurship education and training development, which is essential to the growth of our smaller companies, who are the backbone of our economies, and global commerce and trade as a major focus not only for the interactions that will happen as we go forward, but for the commerce-driven activity and new industrial commerce that will take place because of it,” Harris said.
The partnership would also focus on other collaborative economic programmes, initiatives and events, which would see connecting black suppliers in South Africa and the US.
He said equity funds would be developed to provide capital to black businesses in Africa, and opportunities for black businesses in the US would be created to acquire, do joint ventures, mentor and coach black companies in South Africa.
Also, black companies would be helped to become the number one employer of black people in Africa through workforce training and development.
“We should also provide a pathway for US black companies to open their doors in South Africa and create a pipeline to connect US black businesses and US Fortune 500 companies with South African black businesses and African fortune 500 companies.” Black Business Council president Sandile Zungu welcomed the partnership.
He said the council, the National Business League and B&C International recognised their roles in society and the need for business to be at the forefront of socioeconomic transformation, creating the agenda for black businesses, and to influencing an international policy framework through joint efforts and collaboration in key areas.
“These include encouraging economic policy alignment, utilisation and advocacy, supporting corporate and governmental demand-based job creation through entrepreneurship and small business development, enabling economic empowerment and socioeconomic advancement through identified programmes and initiatives and acting as the catalyst for change, equity and inclusive growth,” Zungu said.