Fair Trade Tourism has partnered with enterprise development agency EICT to provide training and mentorship services to SMMEs adjacent to the Pilansberg National Park involved in the Pilansberg Tourism Incubation Programme – the first tourism incubator of its kind in the country. EICT is a black youth-owned consultancy that provides training, coaching and business advisory services for the SMME sector, ranging from enterprise development, to software, web development and business planning.
The Pilanesberg Tourism Incubation programme is a three-year business development project set up by the Department of Tourism (NDT) in collaboration with North West Provincial Department of Tourism (NWDT) and the Economic Development Unit of the Moses Kotane Local Municipality (MKLM). The project was launched in October 2016 and has identified 50 Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises and enrolled them for development support for the 3 years. The purpose of the programme is to achieve economic growth, reduce poverty and unemployment by providing needs-based enterprise development support to each of the 50 enterprises through needs assessment, gaps identification, growth planning, mentorship, coaching, increasing access to information, funding networks, market exposure and general business advisory services.
EICT partner Akhona Maqwazima said: “Small businesses are the driving force for economic growth and job creation and we are pleased to be working with the National Department of Tourism to assist with their incubator development programme. South Africa’s SMME community is expected to provide 90% of new employment opportunities by 2030 and SMME development in tourism is a key priority area. We identified Fair Trade Tourism as the most appropriate partner to work with in fulfilling our incubator development role.”
Fair Trade Tourism will provide financial management training and mentorship for 10 SMMEs, mainly comprising tour operators and accommodation providers adjacent to Pilanesberg National Park, over the next year. Jane Edge, MD of Fair Trade Tourism said these activities formed part of FTT’s commitment to promoting inclusive tourism growth benefitting SMMEs and co-operatives located around protected areas.
“Unless local black businesses are given the opportunity to integrate into the formal tourism economy around national parks, the future of these parks will be dire,” said Ms Edge. “Rural communities need to derive real tangible value from the wildlife economy and FTT is committed to playing a productive role in facilitating this integration”.