While businesses are changing their operating models to remain competitive, there is a firm belief that small-scale and emerging business will unlock most future employment opportunities in South Africa and drive economic activity both regionally and globally.
The change drivers in modern-day mining includes technology, finance, policy, and shared value.
The South African economy is currently growing at its slowest pace in years, with a GDP growth of 1.3% in 2017 and a recently revised GDP forecast of 1% for the end of 2019.
This is a major issue and, coupled with the national employment rate of 27% as released in May, does not bode positively for the goal of providing economic freedom for all South Africans and turning back the tide of poverty and social unrest that has gripped the country in recent years.
There is a need for young entrepreneurs, small business owners, and other stakeholders in the economy to get together, share ideas and opportunities, and collaborate to fulfil the vision of the South Africa that is ideal for all with accessible and equal opportunities for all individuals that participate in this country’s economy, regardless of race, creed, or nationality.
The SAIMM Young Professionals Council (YPC) has recognized that there is a need for current entrepreneurs, professionals considering an entrepreneurial route, and business to gather to share ideas and insights into the metals industry in a professional and engaging environment.
The aim is to provide an interactive platform for the minerals industry and young entrepreneurs by way of four high-impact sessions that focus on supplier development, finance, innovation, and turning ideas into business opportunities.
Conference sessions are aimed at highlighting how mining companies and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are currently adapting and applying their supplier development strategies, and how SMMEs, emerging businesses, and entrepreneurs can leverage from these initiatives through discussion and dialogue.
Each session will allow delegates to gather various insights from thought leaders in the respective fields of business.
The keynote speakers include Sipho Nkosi, Bernard Swanepoel, Thabile Makgala, Farana Boodhram, and Olebogeng Sentsho.
The main take-away from these sessions is that the attendee will be equipped with the knowledge and experience of industry leaders that have walked the journey before them, with ample opportunity to network and interact for a more personalized information-sharing experience with the thought leaders.
This is also an opportunity to gain exposure to the key stakeholders for supplier development and procurement in major mining houses and their SMME development plans.
The innovation sessions will encourage entrepreneurs and business owners to apply innovation in their businesses or work, while the finance sessions will expose attendees to the initiatives that are being run by public and private funding agencies and the requirements for qualification and consideration for financing a small business.
This event will appeal to young professionals, SMMEs, junior miners and entrepreneurs in the minerals sectors, mining industry leaders, OEMs both local and international, researchers, government departments ,and funding agencies.
As part of fostering entrepreneurship and innovation in line with the conference, a competition focused on web-based applications (apps), artificial intelligence, and human-centred application of technology is currently running till the 30 June 2019.
The shortlisted proposals will be presented at the conference. The competition prize includes business mentorship from a successful entrepreneur in the minerals sector.
This competition aims to reward those that are at the cutting edge of innovation and seeks to promote forward thinking and thinking out of the box.