Small businesses and entrepreneurs are already in dire straits due to the Covid-19 pandemic and need urgent intervention to sustain their businesses, yet they are not getting enough support from the current government.
Private entities such as SOKO District have now taken it upon themselves to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them grow their businesses.
SOKO District in Rosebank is assisting entrepreneurs with a retail platform to showcase their products. During my oversight visit and engagements with the management of the SOKO District as well as the various retailers at Rosebank Mall, I discovered that entrepreneurs need access to such assistance provided by SOKO District to grow and become competitive role players in their respective industries.
SOKO District is providing smart access set ups for retailers to rent enough space and not be burdened with costs of shops and shop-fittings. They have used online technologies to enable entrepreneurs to apply for retail space.
This is a great opportunity for retailers who can develop export-quality merchandise and are now able to sell their goods in a high-end mall at a fraction of the traditional cost and without the uncertainty of passing trade. Without the SOKO District, excellent small retailers would be condemned to some flea-bitten run-down venue, totally crowded out by the corporate giants.
These entrepreneurs only tasks are design and manufacturing. Without these obstacles, these entrepreneurs have now launched brands that can rival any of the mega-brands in department stores.
They share a common point-of-sale system. The layout and look are high-class. Whereas other malls have provided pop-up opportunities, the collective district concept boosts the image, products, and the brands of these risk-takers into the major leagues.
The DA commends SOKO District for its innovative model and the opportunity it has provided to emerging entrepreneurs.
We will continue to strengthen public and private partnerships to grow the City’s economy. The DA-led City of Johannesburg administration that will be voted into power on 1 November will prioritise economic growth that will be led by small businesses.
We will also give a mandate to the City’s Department of Economic Development to partner with private enablers to make further expansion of small business opportunities and encourage the growth of the SOKO District model among the City’s private partners.
This can only become a reality when we vote for change by voting for the DA to get things done.