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Innovative ideas shared at DBF's business engagements
Entrepreneurs engaged in robust dialogue around the topic of innovation and navigating a rapidly changing business landscape as a result of Covid-19 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on 22 September.

The engagement, which was also streamed online, formed part of the Durban Business Fair programme that aimed to promote the business sector while positioning Durban as the ultimate business hub in the country and the world.

Councillor Sibongile Nhlapho welcomed viewers and attendees and encouraged emerging and aspiring entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunity and gain from it to the best of their abilities. “EThekwini Municipality continues with its commitment to provide and empower communities with relevant business information as the corporate sphere is forever changing. This is also done to facilitate access to market for business communities,” she said.

Businessman and Disc Jockey Sbusiso Leope, popularly known as DJ Sbu, thanked the City for creating a platform to develop the business community. He encouraged viewers to be innovative, risk takers and to also take advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“When you start a business, you need to have a long-term vision of what you want to achieve. Start with what you have and work hard to attain your goals. Strive to create multiple streams of income. A number of businesses collapsed during the pandemic because they could not adapt to the changing environment,” said Leope.

Nkosinathi Madlala, an emerging entrepreneur, thanked the panel for their insight, adding that the knowledge that they shared would be of great assistance in growing his fashion establishment.
During the second instalment of the Durban Business Fair’s business engagement on 23 September, a panel of experts in the field of marketing and brand development shared their insight under the topic “Crisis marketing: finding opportunities and trends amidst Covid-19.”

Founder and Chief Executive Officer for Brand Leadership Group Thebe Ikalafeng talked about the impact of the coronavirus on businesses, saying many companies had to shut down for good while others flourished. “Marketing is about making promises and delivering on those promises. The pandemic forced us to rethink how we look at things and how we approach problems,” said Ikalafeng.

Sphelele Mjadu, Head of Public Relations and Marketing at Unilever urged emerging entrepreneurs to be on the lookout for brands that want to help them grow. “It is your responsibility as a business owner to search for information that will grow your establishment. Times are changing, traditional forms of marketing are not as effective as they were 20 years ago.

The introduction of social media gave birth to influencers which are now mostly utilised for marketing campaigns.” Mjadu emphasised the importance of understanding consumers and their needs in order to develop campaigns that speak to them and cater to those needs.

“The lockdown forced us to rethink and recreate our marketing campaigns. We had to understand how our consumers would use beauty products at home due to the lockdown. Our campaign switched to encouraging and educating people to self-care at home,” she said.

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