On the 13th of September O 2018, the Executive Mayor Cllr Herman Mashaba had officially opened the City of Johannesburg’s third Opportunity Centre in Diepsloot (Region A). This opening comes after the opening of two such centres in March and July named Khoebo (located in Marshalltown) and Isiqalo (located in Roodepoort) respectively. It is under the leadership of MMC for Economic Development, Cllr Leah Knott, that the rollout continues across the City. The centres are based on a model that is set to uplift the profile of emerging entrepreneurs, allowing them to benefit extensively from the services offered.
The new Opportunity Centre business model allows the Department of Economic Development to increase the number of centres earmarked to facilitate ease of access by people mostly in need of them, in various communities and surrounding areas. “We are launching this opportunity centre for the community of Diepsloot, to help equip them with the necessary skills to start their businesses. I also advise that you use this centre to equip yourself in making money, as
Business is all about making money,” Mashaba said. He explained to the community members that came through to experience this opening, that as business people they need to make money first, then help others and one another. “How are you going to help others if your own business is not profitable, if your own businesses are making a consistent income, they are also contributing in shaping and building a better community and society.” “You will be able to create jobs and help to alleviate poverty and unemployment in the City.”
Mashaba urged the community of Diepsloot to use the opportunity centre to their full ability. “Please use this centre so that you can learn the dynamics of a business, as it is put in place to empower you as the people of Diepsloot and will hopefully produce successful entrepreneurs” He further explained that people should utilize the centre to its maximum level and come in daily as if the government owes them something, as the government has the responsibility to provide facilities to help and equip communities with the necessary skills they need. “I also urge the community to use and take care of this centre, to protect it from any criminal acts and vandalism, this is your centre and we hope it produces the type of entrepreneurs the city needs.
” According to the Department’s strategic objectives, a total of 14 Opportunity Centres are planned to be rolled out by the end of the 2020/2021 financial year. The City strongly believes that the development and support of SMMEs and entrepreneurs plays a critical role in assisting the City to achieve its target of a 5% economic growth by 2021, and a reduction in the unemployment rate within Johannesburg. Through our private sector partners (TUHF, ABSA, SEDA, SARS, SAICA, GenAfrica, Discovery, Umastandi, Productivity SA, CIPS, Innovation Hub, and Smart Procurement World), the City aims to continue empowering youth in business through an array of services offered at the centres.
Also present at the launch was MMC of Health and Social Development, Dr Mpho Phalatse who also encouraged the community that with a new opportunity centre being launched in Diepsloot, they needed to take full advantage of what it has to offer. “Make sure that you make today a time where your life beings to change with opportunity centre,” Phalatse said.
The Opportunity Centres serve as a “Single Point of Entry” for servicing emerging and established SMMEs geared towards growing their businesses. SMMEs will be guided on how to register their businesses, develop business plans; they will be assisted in analysing business models and identifying corrective actions that can help grow and sustain their businesses. Some of the standardised services that will be offered at the Diepsloot Opportunity Centre, as in the other two centres are:
1. General business information and advice
2. Business assessments, gap analysis and development plans
3. Business management training seminars, including financial literacy, marketing sales and operations management
4. Training on tax compliance and including company registration
5. Managed workshops, meeting rooms and internet wi-fi services for business research
6. Funding facilitation including funding products awareness and application support
7. Enterprise development services delivery points
8. Assistance with city supplier database and compliance issues
9. Business Idea Generation and Supply Chain training to enable access to markets
10. Referral to relevant business support services
All Opportunity Centres have a job seekers desk, which offers public and private sector companies’ access to a pool of applicants utilising the database. This is one of the ways the City has shown a commitment to providing sustainable long-term support instead of using people as numbers that achieve minimal results without meaningful change. Interested parties are encouraged to visit the following Opportunity Centres:
i. KHOEBO OPPORTUNITY CENTRE Address: 9th Floor, Samancor Building, 88 Marshall Street, Marshalltown ii. ISIQALO OPPORTUNITY CENTRE Address:
4th Floor, Roodepoort Civic Theatre, Christian De Wet Road, Florida Park
iii. TLHABOLOGO OPPORTUNITY CENTRE Address: 1131 Ingonyama Street Social development skills Centre, Diepsloot. For any queries kindly contact Jabulile Buthelezi, Stakeholder Manager: Office of the MMC for Economic Development Office: +27 11 703 5561, Mobile: +27 67 028 9636, Email: JabulileBu@joburg.org.za