The Design Institute was alive with energy on 24 March when the Next Industrialist Fair was staged to showcase the work of young entrepreneurs who have gone through the design process to refine their products or service offerings.
Guest of honour at the occasion was Minister Lindiwe Zulu of the Department of Small Business Development and the event also coincided with a visit from the Economic Development Portfolio Committee.
To emphasise the fact that South Africa needs to reignite a culture of industrialism, guests stopped off at exhibitions hosted by young entrepreneurs. Here they could find out more about the products or services these young people have come up with and where they hoped to go with their offerings.
At their posts, showcasing their wares were Shalton Mothwa (AEON – a range of products using free energy produced by cellphone towers), Lutendo Mogoro (Munungwane – a range of medicinal products made from an indigenous plant from Venda), Mzukisi Mbana (Imprint – a clothing and accessories range narrating a story of African ancestors) and Siyanda Mbele (Pinda – hand-painted furniture incorporating traditional cultural references).
In her keynote address, Minister Zulu explained what inspired the youth of ’76 to accelerate change in South Africa. She explained that the constitution opens up opportunities for everyone in South Africa and that we should all work together to create radical economic transformation. South Africa has excellent policies in place to bring about change, but is lacking when it comes to implementation. She added that her job, developing SMMEs in South Africa, was only possible if departments like Trade and Industry, Higher Education, Science and Technology and more worked together.
The fair concluded with a panel discussion in which the minister, funders, the Design Institute and young entrepreneurs participated.