While strikes have crippled the South African construction industry, the developers of the R1.7-billion Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth have been engaging with SMEs to help them benefit from the mammoth project as much as possible.
In keeping with their commitment to empower the local community, Baywest Mall developers Abacus Asset Management and Billion Group recently held the inaugural SME workshop for small businesses.
The workshop, held last week Friday at the Eastcape Training Centre, drew 200 Bay SMEs, all of whom were registered on the Baywest database for possible work during the mall’s construction phase.
The SA Revenue Service (SARS) and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) gave presentations to the SMEs at the workshop, as did Loyiso Bomvana, quantity surveyor for primary contractor on the project, Murray Roberts.
The initiative comes on the back of a dedicated forum set up to involve local small businesses in the development wherever possible. The forum is made up of the Black Business Forum, the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NAFCOC), NAFCOC Youth, the National Black Contractors and Allied Trades Forum (NABCAT), and the Nelson Mandela Bay Black SME Forum.
“Baywest is going the extra mile to involve Nelson Mandela Bay SMEs in this project,” said Baywest Mall project manager Chris Beech, who kicked off the workshop last week. “Our aim is to be able to have developed a massive super regional mall and at the same time empowered small businesses along the way, spending as much as we can within the local economy.”
Given the size of the development, SMEs involved would benefit substantially in experience, he said.
“By being exposed to such a large project, SMEs will be able to grow in experience and exposure in the industry,” said Beech.
Aside from the workshop, the developers have been involved in a campaign in the local media and with local stakeholders to get as many Bay SMEs and individuals registered on its database for possible work during the construction phase. The database is being compiled and overseen by Baywest community liaison officer, Azola Tybosch.
The developers have committed to spending at least R325-million on BEE equity involvement of the R1.3-billion construction phase value, while R260-million of the R1.3-billion is set to go to procuring local business and services. Up to 1,500 local jobs are set to be created during the construction phase out of a total of 3,000 direct jobs. A further 7,000 indirect and induced jobs will be created.
Upon completion of the 87,500m² shopping centre in early 2015, a further 1,500 permanent jobs will be created to staff about 260 retail outlets.
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