Dr Richard Maponya joins UJ’s Annual Soweto Conference as keynote speaker

​​The University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Centre for Small Business Development (CSBD) in the Faculty of Management, is pleased to announce that Dr Richard Maponya will be a keynote speaker at this year’s 5TH Annual Soweto Conference on Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr Maponya to this year’s event,” says Ms Moipone Molotsi, the Director of the Centre for Small Business Development (CSBD). “Dr Maponya is a celebrated business leader, renowned for creating a business empire in spite of all the challenges he was faced with. We believe that he will provide a great deal of inspiration for delegates attending the conference.”

Dr Maponya, an entrepreneur and property developer, holds a lifetime achievement award from the African Leadership Network. He created a thriving business empire despite Apartheid restrictions at the time. Dr Maponya opened a dairy product shop in 1950s Soweto before moving onto property and racehorse breeding. He is the founder of the African Chamber of Commerce and opened his own retail development, Maponya Mall, at the age of 87. Dr Maponya is still engaged in the development of several business enterprises including, Maponya Motor City and the Maponya Institute, which provides skills and training for young entrepreneurs.

The 5TH Annual Soweto Conference on Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development will take place from 29-31 October 2014 at the UJ Soweto Campus. The theme of this year’s event is: Promoting Township Business Competitiveness: Co-existence of Immigrant, Big and Small Township Enterprises.

“It became evident that we needed to create a suitable platform to explore some of the most pressing challenges facing entrepreneurs and township enterprises,” says Ms Molotsi “This conference will provide the ideal environment to facilitate debate, as well as the exchange of skills and ideas,” she adds.

According to Ms Molotsi, entrepreneurship and small business development are critical success factors for South Africa’s continued economic growth. “However, for many years, a large number of local business owners have perceived the existence of foreign-owned enterprises and big business, as a growth infringement on their own enterprises,” she says. “It is our belief that we, in the local context, can gain significant advantages by exploring how other countries have overcome these challenges.”

The Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) joins this year’s 5TH Annual Soweto Conference as one of the key sponsors. The GEP is an organisation that assists informal traders become skilled entrepreneurs through the provision of financial and non-financial support, as well as education and training.

This year’s conference is rich with practical training, including: Business Idea Generation and Innovation, as well as Social Media Marketing. The following two days will include various local and international experts who will share knowledge, best practice and case studies of success stories in other countries. Delegates will learn more about how to gain access to finance, and what qualities financial institutions look for, in entrepreneurs who are looking to gain access to loans.

“It is our hope that this event will serve as a platform to explore and debate the possibility of partnerships between foreign and locally owned businesses” says Ms Molotsi. “We also need to look at ways in which government may be able to assist through legislative changes, as well as how big businesses can co-exist with smaller enterprises. The goal is to try and achieve a status quo that stimulates economic development,” she concluded.

For further information about the Centre for Small Business Development and the 5TH Annual Soweto Conference on Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development, visit www.csbd.co.za. ​ ​​​​​

Dr Richard Maponya
Dr Richard Maponya
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