Cape Town’s new trader support programme

The focus is on developing products that meet current trends and market demand, and business training and capacity development.


The Craft and Design Institute (CDI), based in Cape Town, in the Western Cape region of South Africa, has rolled out a new trader support programme with the City of Cape Town’s Area Economic Development team – it is developing informal traders and entrepreneurs operating within their local economies.

After a selection process with the City of Cape Town, 24 entrepreneurs who produced a range of products including clothing, jewellery and accessories were supported. The programme, which ran over six days of intensive training, covered business strategy; financial management; readiness for physical and online market opportunities; product refinement, display and packaging; and sales, marketing and distribution.

 A section at the Cape Town Summer Market had been dedicated for the participants.

Erica Elk, Group CEO of the CDI, said that the training programme draws on over two decades of CDI best practice and will make an impact in helping the Cape Town business owners to unlock success.

“The Covid pandemic severely impacted local small businesses – especially those that operate more informally. With the return of physical markets this season, like the Cape Town Summer Market, this programme increases these entrepreneurs’ capacity at a key time when new opportunities are arising again.”

“The informal sector is the fifth largest employment sector in Cape Town. As a caring, opportunity City, we recognise traders’ vital contribution to economic growth, providing goods and services to communities across Cape Town, and most importantly, in sustaining livelihoods for people and their families. Helping budding businesses to get to grips with the mechanisms that will help them reach more customers means that not only will they grow, but they will be able to build up their communities. For economies to grow, small businesses and entrepreneurs need access to the skills, knowledge and contacts that will help them to grow their business footprint,” said Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth. One of the selected participants was Elize Kruis, who has experience as a craft instructor, in the private sector, and now runs her small business called Craft Step by Step which offers a range of bespoke gifting items that she supplies to small retailers like the visitor shop at Table Mountain, and boutique shops in Hermanus, a town outside of Cape Town, in the Western Cape. She says the programme was one of the best courses she has ever been on.“When I was a manager in the private sector, I thought that training was good – I was not sure what to expect, but this programme run by the CDI was on a new level; and so hands on! Everything was explained in a manner that I could understand immediately – it was really easy to relate to and to get great feedback. It also provided a great platform to network with other entrepreneurs, she said.

She adds that the area she learnt the most from was the training on product development and product range development. “I have always wondered how to expand my product, and I had never thought of using the waste materials from my products – the programme helped me to see things from a very different angle! I also never realised how important and timesaving planning can be. This is a skill I am going to use from now on, and I will definitely save time and money.”

Elize adds that she is also now exploring some options for using her craft instructing experience to supplement the business income when there is the off season, through offering school holiday programmes teaching youth.

Innocent Kasanhayi, a bead and wire artisan based in Simonstown, Cape Town, is the owner of Shona Wires. He has for 20 years worked selling in the area, based at Jubilee Square at the Boardwalk Centre.

“This was my first workshop with the CDI, and it was really interesting – one of the highlights for me was the components which looked at digital marketing, such as the use of social media and WhatsApp. Also great was the module on Costing and Pricing, which will assist me in improving my profitability. It was a great group of people in the workshops, and I feel really positive now as we head into the festive season. It looks like we are returning to a normal life again with tourism increasing, and that is my biggest customer base.”




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