Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  30 Oct 2008

DEVELOPMENT: Small Businesses Flourish at CTICC


Recent Western Cape Business News

Since opening amid great anticipation in 2003, Cape Town International Convention Centre has become a major driver of the economy of the Western Cape.

When first mooted, not everyone was overly thrilled about the idea of building a large international convention centre in the Mother City. At the time, there were those nay sayers who expressed doubts as to the wisdom of pumping large sums of public money into the enterprise. They’ll never pull it off, they griped. Keeping it going over any length of time would be unlikely, they warned. Watch it turn into a white elephant, the prophets of gloom foretold.

How wrong they were! CTICC has burgeoned like a spring flower on a West Coast veld, each year bettering its performance and exceeding expectations. Today, CTICC is a palpable presence in the city – a benevolent uncle who likes to spread his wealth around.

At the core of the centre’s ethos is a policy of local procurement, with the bulk of its supplies and products being sourced from companies based in and around Cape Town.

CTICC obtains goods and services from 390 suppliers of which 87% are based in the Western Cape. Local expenditure amounts to R42m.

It believes in and sticks to fair and ethical tender processes. With a strong commitment to encouraging local enterprise, CTICC has enabled many SMEs to develop along with it, perceptibly stimulating small-business growth in the province. Five years down the line, this has made a huge difference to several small operators, who have grown into solid, profitable businesses as a consequence of their association with the centre.

Catering at CTICC is a mammoth operation (the sprawling underground kitchen spans two city blocks!) and 96% of all produce, ingredients and beverages used in the kitchen have been bought locally this year. But outside contractors are needed for services and goods in other parts of the operation, too.

Having appointed a supply chain manager to comply with the regulations of the Municipal Finance Management Act, the centre awarded 19 tenders, with a total value of R23m, for essential services in the past year, the largest of these being three-year contracts each for audiovisual, security and cleaning companies. BEE procurement accounted for 57% of the centre’s total annual procurement spend of R48.2m.

IT company ProsperIS is one of those that have grown up alongside CTICC. When contracted in 2003 it had one solitary client – CTICC. Today it employs 20 full-time staff members and is one of the most demographically representative information technology companies in Cape Town.

“CTICC does not treat us like subcontractors but as business partners. We share in their vision and values and they make us feel part of the team,” says ProsperIS founder Victor Kotze.

Another company that has come all the way with CTICC since the beginning is The AV Alliance, the centre’s audiovisual services partner. A subsidiary of Louis Group International, The AV Alliance was originally formed to bring together best-of-breed specialists in the fields of sound, lighting, projection and information technology with the aim of delivering specialist services to the conferencing and events industry.

“As a direct result of the partnership between The AV Alliance and CTICC, 38 jobs have been created,” says general manager Francouis Liebetrau. “The contract for the provision of audiovisual services to the CTICC came up for tender again late in 2007, and The AV Alliance considers it a significant vote of confidence by the centre to have been re-awarded this important service contract.”

CTICC prides itself on the level of professionalism of its employees, who are trained to top international standards. Forefront Training is the local firm that has been awarded the contract for staff training. This has allowed the company to expand and diversify its business, and it now also offers a banqueting training programme.

“We are grateful to CTICC for placing confidence and trust in us at a time when our business was just starting out,” says director Arlene Adriaanse. “Through our association with the highly regarded CTICC, we are now well-positioned to attract other clients in the customer-services industry.”

Her sentiments are echoed by Pronto Kleen Cleaning Services general manager Jerome Cedras. “Being part of a centre with the reputation of CTICC has certainly improved the status of Pronto Kleen,” he says. “It is great being a partner to a centre with such high standards – it has certainly helped us improve the skills and expertise of our people and our business as a whole.”

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