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Furniture entrepreneurs celebrate graduation from City-funded programme

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth, Alderman James Vos, joined a group of entrepreneurs at Northlink College in Belhar for their graduation from the City-funded Furniture Light Manufacturing Support Programme. 

Facilitated by the South African Furniture Initiative (SAFI), the Furniture Light Manufacturing Enterprise Development Programme is designed to specifically cater to the needs of micro-enterprises in the industry.

 ‘By tapping into the existing wealth of talent in this industry, we can help to drive up productivity and ultimately unlock growth and job opportunities. The Furniture Light Manufacturing Enterprise Development Programme involved detailed technical training, business training, and mentorship support. Fourteen entrepreneurs put their hands up and participated in the programme and it has been inspiring to witness their personal and professional development during this time,’ said Alderman Vos.

 

Earlier this year, several of the programme’s participants put their new skills to the test when they exhibited at Decorex Cape Town, the city’s premier design exhibition.

 

‘These entrepreneurs got to engage with buyers and other designers on one of the biggest design stages in Cape Town and it was an invaluable learning and commercial experience for them,’ said Alderman Vos.

 

In 2020, there were 78 546 people employed in South Africa’s furniture manufacturing industry which contributed about 1,20% to manufacturing GDP in that year. According to SAFI, the sector has been shrinking for over 20 years, with exports dropping by 46% between 2002 and 2018.

 

‘This is why I also spoke to the graduating group about City-supported platforms such as the Cape Trade Portal, a digital marketplace for local producers that connects them directly with buyers and additionally serves as a dedicated centre of skills resources. The portal, which started off with 115 registered exporters showcasing 600 products in 2022, grew to 924 exporters showcasing over 4 000 Cape products in just one year. We will continue pushing ahead with projects and programmes that help to grow businesses, jobs, and our economy,’ said Alderman Vos.

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