The announcement of COVID-19 Alert Level One in South Africa in October 2021 saw local businesses breathe a little easier as doors opened wider to broader economic opportunities.
To support local businesses across the board, from one-person SMMEs to corporates, a number of key public, private and NPO stakeholders are joining forces to initiate a “Made in Cape Town” movement that will surface and celebrate products and services of a Cape Town origin.
The “Made in Cape Town” movement is managed by the Craft and Design Institute (CDI) in partnership with the City of Cape Town’s Enterprise and Investment Department. It aims to demonstrate the strength of what can be achieved when public and private entities come together to support the reopening of the economy.
“The primary goal at this stage,” says Erica Elk, Group CEO of the CDI, “is to unearth and showcase what Cape Town has created. And to encourage locals to support local.
“The ‘Made in Cape Town’ movement provides the CDI with an additional channel to connect local businesses with economic opportunities that will help them recover. It speaks to the objectives of several of our other projects, one being the RE:SOLVE Challenge which enables innovative entrepreneurs to take their first steps in prototyping new local products and services.”
Elk elaborates: “Through ‘Made in Cape Town’ we are calling on the public and local businesses to tell us what excites them about Cape Town: is it a locally made product? A food or beverage they associate with the Mother City, or an invention or company that was born here? A unique service, event or adventure? The list of possibilities is endless!”
The initiative is going public ahead of the festive season to drive interest throughout the season and beyond, with “Made in Cape Town” calling for public input via a variety of social media platforms, Made in Cape Town and @madeincapetown.
“The ‘Made in Cape Town’ message amplifies the City of Cape Town’s own economic initiatives to boost the economy out of the lockdown and galvanise both local businesses and supporters within all Cape Town communities,” says Alderman James Vos, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management.
“The City has launched a number of programmes to drive our economy. We recently announced a 200-step Inclusive Economic Growth Strategy (IEGS) to make opportunities accessible for all who live in Cape Town and, in particular, create jobs,” says Alderman Vos. Other recent City of Cape Town initiatives have included detailed destination readiness plans which highlight how the city is preparing to safely welcome visitors over the festive season. This ties into Cape Town Tourism’s (CTT) new international “Find Your Freedom” campaign, which converts potential travellers in key source markets to actual visitors to the Mother City, and CTT’s “Captivating Cape Town” campaign showing the accessibility and affordability of Cape Town.
According to Alderman Vos, the key objective behind these numerous initiatives is to assist the development of community tourism to support local businesses. He therefore believes that the “Made in Cape Town” movement will support these initiatives, enabling local businesses to create jobs and help to grow the economy.
“In partnership with the CDI, we are shining the spotlight on the many quality goods and services that originate in the Mother City and encouraging both locals and visitors alike to come forward to say what they love about Cape Town. This is an opportunity to endorse Cape Town as a destination and to show our love for local by buying local.”
The first private sector entity to pledge its support for the “Made in Cape Town” movement is the V&A Waterfront who, with the CDI, is currently implementing a Retail Readiness Living Lab (RRLL) programme. Supporting small creative businesses in the Watershed, RRLL provides training and mentorship to foster retail expertise and readiness as the economy reopens. Currently, craft producers located at designer/artist Heath Nash’s “Our Workshop” at the Gugu S’Thebe Centre in Langa are participating and benefitting from the opportunities being offered in the RRLL programme.
“All these speak to celebrating local products and services,” concludes Elk. “As the CDI, we are excited by the ‘Made in Cape Town’ movement because it will help, support and promote South African products and services – which is what we need to drive our recovery.”
Images: The Craft and Design Institute