New Opportunity Centres set to empower Johannesburg’s entrepreneurs and unemployed youth

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On Wednesday, 14 March 2018, the City of Johannesburg’s Economic Development Department today officially launched the first of its planned 14 Opportunity Centre’s (OPC’s) at 88 Marshall Street.

The City firmly believes that the development and support of SMMEs and entrepreneurs will play a huge role in achieving 5% economic growth by 2021 with sustainable SMME’s contributing to a reduction in unemployment.

All OPC’s will carry their own identity and will be customised in order to cater for services required in their specific areas of operation. The new OPC logo, which will be carried citywide, was announced by the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Councillor Herman Mashaba, at the launch of the first OPC at 88 Marshall Street and was chosen via a participative process which involved learners from the City’s institutes of higher learning. We are following the same process in terms of naming each and every centre.

To ensure a high level of support, the City has invited a range of public and private sector partners from various disciplines to be part of this ground-breaking project with some of the key stakeholders taking up residence within these facilities. The OPC’s will each be managed by a City of Johannesburg official in partnership with SEDA.

They will identify and earmark appropriate courses and skills training in conjunction with our partners in order to provide:

  • A “Single Point of Entry” for SMMEs;
  • Registration of companies and SARS related functions;
  • Access to funding, markets, economic infrastructure and information to grow one’s businesses;
  • Assistance with the completion of tender documents and related issues.

The Office of the MMC of the Department of Economic Development (DED) and the City of Johannesburg facilitated a SMME Outreach Programme between September and October 2017 across the City’s seven (7) regions of Johannesburg. The objective of this engagement was to actively engage with small business owners on the City’s provision of services and business support in this respect in order to conceptualise an efficient business support model.

The decision was then taken to launch five Opportunity Centres (OPC’s) across the City within the 2017/18 financial year. Two of the OPC’s would be relocated and rebranded to be more accessible to entrepreneurs, whilst three others will be refurbished and rebranded in their current locations.

The Department also plans to launch a centralised Job Seeker’s Desk mid-2018 to further enhance the support offered by our OPC’s. Another new and exciting feature in addition to this will be the introduction of Innovation Desks where SMME’s and entrepreneurs can access a platform to launch their unique ideas and receive expert assistance in developing these ideas.

We plan to expand the OPC’s to two per region with a total of fourteen OPC’s by the end of the 2020/21 financial year.

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