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The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth, Alderman James Vos recently attended the SmartTech training session at the Khayelitsha Bandwidth Barn where local informal traders were shown how to better use technology to grow their businesses.

Facilitated by the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), the workshops are fully funded by the City and cover topics such as using social media to reach customers, understanding the digital economy, and business financial management.

‘Helping budding businesses to get to grips with the mechanisms that will help them reach more customers means that not only will they grow, but they will be able to build up their communities,’ said Alderman James Vos, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth.

Alderman Vos met several informal traders from around Khayelitsha who joined the previous SmartTech session. One of the attendees, Hilda Makiki, who owns a fast food service, said the knowledge she gained is already helping her business.

‘I learnt how important it is to plan ahead and how pre-ordering through Facebook and Whatsapp Business can help me plan better. I am getting more requests and taking more orders,’ said Makiki.

The informal sector is one of the largest employment sectors in Cape Town. Many Capetonians also depend on traders as their goods and services are often more affordable and conveniently located.

The SmartTech workshops are one of several such initiatives facilitated by CiTi and funded by the Department of Enterprise and Investment. The tech incubator also hosts the popular Women in Business programme and will soon run a digital literacy series at the Khayelitsha Bandwidth Barn where unemployed youths will be taught some of the in-demand technical skills needed in the workplace.

‘For economies to grow, small businesses and entrepreneurs need access to the skills, knowledge and contacts that will help them to grow their business footprint. So I encourage informal traders in and around Khayelitsha to sign up for this enriching and empowering programme at the Bandwidth Barn,’ said Alderman Vos.

The next SmartTech session is due to take place on 16 and 17 February. To find out more, go to https://www.facebook.com/KhayelitshaBarn/?ref=page_internal or email ecosystem@citi.org.za.

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