Development fund launched

Winning Board Development Fund members Ebrahim Osman and Rene Moses

Cape Town Tourism’s Board of Directors took a collective decision to forfeit their monthly remuneration towards a Board Development Fund (BDF) that assists Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) with support to develop their tourism businesses.

After receiving many promising applications and undergoing a thorough selection process, a shortlist of five candidates was created. In December 2013, the first two beneficiaries were carefully selected and allocated R50 000 each in support of their businesses’ growth. Additional non-financial support is also being given in the form of a complimentary Cape Town Tourism membership, mentorship by board members Jonathan Jacobs and Enver Mally, and training, skills development and marketing involvement until 31 August 2014.

Following a meeting with the selection panel, the two successful SMME’s were announced as Ozzie’s Golf Guide and Travel with René.

Ozzie’s Golf Guide provides a personalised service to local and international guests to ensure that they experience a memorable round of golf in Cape Town, including securing tee time, transportation and golf equipment. Ebrahim Osman, owner of Ozzies Golf Guide, says; “I’m new to the tourism game; my company is just over a year old. Being one of the winners of Cape Town Tourism’s Board Development Fund has been a great boost for my company in terms of cash injection, mentorship and networking opportunities, and the exposure to the industry that I am getting, but most of all I have a greater sense of confidence in what I do because an organisation like Cape Town Tourism is behind me and believes that I have a great product to offer visitors.”

Travel with René is a niche tourism business that offers two specialised vehicles to assist with the transportation needs of people with disabilities and their families. The owner, René Moses, has been a wheelchair user for over eighteen years and has successfully started up this business to fill the access gap. Moses shares; “This win means that my dream of accessible transport for all, including persons with disabilities, is attainable. It has instilled confidence in me to continue fighting so that every visitor to our beautiful country feels at home.”

Mentor and board member, Jonathan Jacobs, explains further; “The Board Development Fund was initiated by the Cape Town Tourism Board and supported by the Executive Management team of Cape Town Tourism. The directors have relinquished their rights to a stipend as Board Members and directed it to this fund. The fund seeks to empower and financially assist small business entrepreneurs within the Tourism Sector. As the Board we were looking for high growth companies that could also enhance ‘Brand Cape Town’. One of the greatest challenges facing entrepreneurs is how to access capital and the Board Development Fund, in a way, makes it easier for small business owners to access small amounts of capital. We hope that when the New BEE codes come into effect that Tourism Businesses consider this fund to enhance their Enterprise Development points.”

Enver Mally, also a mentor and board member, says; “I think this is a very good initiative and as one of the mentors I am seeing the benefits first hand. What we are effectively trying to do is to help entrepreneurs move forward. It’s easy to gives businesses funds and let them do with it what they will, but it’s much more sustainable to provide assistance and mentorship throughout the process so that savvy decisions are made and the business in question grows. This should be the start of something bigger… we’ve planted the seed and now we would like to see more involvement and more mentorship by other major industry players with learnings to share.”

CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Enver Duminy, concludes; “Mentorship is central to growing skills and confidence in the tourism industry and whilst tourism is a vital economic driver for our city, province and country, its real impact still needs to reach a broader base of participants and beneficiaries. We all have a part to play in ensuring that this happens and I speak for the board in saying that this small gesture is part of our bigger commitment to diversifying tourism economically. 

Tammy White

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Issue 68