Committed To The Future Of SA Entrepreneurs

2019 has proved to be “The Year of the Entrepreneur”, with President Cyril Ramaphosa citing Small-to-Medium Enterprise as one of our economy’s primary driving forces. This has intensified the media focus on SMEs. And Brand innovators, CWDi, couldn’t be more pleased about the rejuvenated national interest in entrepreneurship.

Award-winning marketing, creative events and activations experts, CWDi, have always made a habit of looking ahead. And in 2019, they took their future focus to a whole new level. CWDi’s involvement in entrepreneur-centred initiatives intensified this year, in the interest of helping young South Africans announce their unique business ideas to the world. And the results have been extremely positive.

I AM ENTREPRENEUR (IAAE), in association with FNB, is series of conferences geared at arming entrepreneurs with the critical business and leadership skills they need to make it in the real world. When organisers approached CWDi to run the marketing and manage the events, the team embraced the opportunity. The scope and potential impact of the IAAE project also required brand building, and CWDi rose to the challenge.

From the outset, the team knew that a stand-out approach was needed. And that is how the “unconference” came to be. The traditional conference approach had to be turned onto its head. First and foremost, the IAAE conferences needed to provide an inclusive networking and participation opportunity for up-and-coming SA entrepreneurs looking to upskill and learn.

CWDi’s more interactive “unconference” approach meant that networking, audience participation, Q&A and access to speakers, sponsors and knowledge was not just encouraged, it was built into the conference’s DNA. Innovative seating plans and activations made networking much more organic, meaning unscripted opportunities were far more likely to pop up.

Even though IAAE hosted several events across the country, no two events were the same, and the entrepreneurial spirit flourished in a welcoming, open environment where sharing ideas was encouraged and long-lasting business relationships were built.

Today, the IAAE has created a collaborative community of entrepreneurs, who aren’t just focused on business, they’re building communities on a national scale. IAAE has grown from just five regions in 2018, to eight in 2019, reaching all nine South African provinces.

CWDi also celebrated Mandela Day in style this year, when they hosted the second 67 Logos Designathon. The initiative saw 67 creative minds come together in Johannesburg and Cape Town to design 67 logos for 67 small businesses – at no cost to the businesses. The designers pledged to create striking, appropriate and unique logos to help these businesses create their brand identities and boost their capacity to generate profits.

Lesley Waterkeyn, CWDi’s Founder and Vice-Chairman, and author of “The Entrepreneurs Playbook: From Rookie to Rainmaker in Seven Steps”, has always felt a special connection to entrepreneurs, and feels it’s important to inspire her team to feel the same way.

Lesley says, “If we enable South African SMEs and just nudge them towards success by providing them with the business tools they need, they will do the rest. The entrepreneurial spirit is a powerful force in the South African economy, and the CWDi team encourages other businesses to stand up and support SMEs, because they make our economy thrive. It’s only a natural conclusion that the country will attract more interest on the global stage, pull in new investors and drop the unemployment rate drastically if the small business economy continues to grow.

“67 Logos provides SMEs who can’t afford it with professionally designed logos – an important tool that strengthens their identity among consumers and helps them stand out. And the IAAE conferences create a space where business ideas can grow, leading to more motivated entrepreneurs who enter the market with strong entrepreneurial intent and the tools to succeed. CWDi is proud to have played a part in boosting our entrepreneurs and we hope to keep seeing them flourish in years to come”.

CWDi is an award-winning marketing agency, that connects people through meaningful brand experiences. The spirit of collaboration and entrepreneurship is a core driver behind every project the CWDi team undertakes, and they are united in the common goal of bringing big ideas to life.

CWDi is 52% black female-owned company that operates from offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg, working with clients throughout Africa and across the globe.