Enterprise Development and Inclusion remains the cornerstone for Transformation and Empowerment

In the weakened state of the economy, it is important to focus on programmes aimed towards economic development and job creation; and ensure that such programmes are centred around inclusion to propel economic growth.

Economic growth is most likely to be fast-tracked if the basis and structure of the economy is changed; as such broad-based transformation should be intentional towards growth, inclusion,  job creation, skills development and transfer as well as empowerment. The meaningful impact will be realised if resources are created to support change.

Whilst focusing on economic development and transformation, it is important to note that empowerment should also lead efforts aimed towards inclusion to allow  the previously marginalised groups to play a role in wealth generation whilst also expanding their capacity.

Amongst various government initiatives that drive radical economic development are programmes such as Black Industrialists and Operation Vula. In essence Black Industrialists programme is a mode to execute radical economic development and job creation. This programme supports manufacturing projects whereas Operation Vula supports the empowerment of small businesses. The RBIDZ plays a significant role in driving economic development through attraction of foreign direct investments, reason being that attracted investors facilitate manufacturing, production capacity and skills development and transfer. The RBIDZ’s intention thereof is also to ensure that SMMEs and localisation  are keenly prioritised in the entire value chain of its operation.

In the recent Black Industrialists Conference, President Cyril Ramaphosa has hastened to emphasize his full support of the black economic empowerment BEE laws. He stated that the laws are the means to achieve inclusive economic growth. “Black businesses should have a seat at the table and enjoy meaningful and equitable participation in the economy without any barriers”. In 2023 South Africa will mark 20 years since the adoption of the BEE Act. Ramaphosa said an economy that only benefited a few, and did not reflect the country's demography, would never be sustainable or dynamic. “There can be no growth without economic inclusion and without a business sector that reflects the diversity of our people and our society, Ramaphosa said. "There can be no inclusive recovery and reconstruction unless broad-based black economic empowerment is at the centre of our efforts."

Firming his focused and decisive  intentions, President Cyril Ramaphosa has recently appointed a 14 - member Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment BBBEE Advisory Council to lead advocacy campaigns and counter negative narratives around transformation in the country. The council is tasked with advising on the future trajectory of BBBEE as the country rebuilds from years of slow economic growth and the impact of the Covid19 pandemic.

The Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone, a Special Economic Zone is working tirelessly to attract investors into the Zone in line with its mandate aimed toward economic development, job creation and skills development and transfer. Moreover, the RBIDZ has implemented initiatives aimed at driving empowerment programmes in line with Black Industrialists programme as well as Enterprise Development.

RBIDZ Nal’ ithemba Enterprise Development Programme


Acknowledging that  small businesses and cooperatives have  significant role to play in driving and building inclusive economy and increase majority participation, the RBIDZ is implementing the Nalithemba Enterprise Development Programme that aims to develop and support SMMEs for active participation in investment activities through business linkages with the intention to promote production efficiency, production growth as well as technology know how. With this ED Programme the RBIDZ further aims to complement the industrial investment through upstream and downstream participation by local SMMEs resulting in job creation and inclusive economic growth.

The sector focused programme will ensure that SMMEs in the programme are developed and supported with the aim of ensuring that they are well equipped for participation in economic development  and job creation.

To date the initial phases of the ED programme have been activated through the call for application from interested and sector focused SMMEs. What sets apart this ED Programme from the many similar initiatives in the region is the direct involvement of the RBIDZ locators or investors which will ensure the sustainability of the enterprises that will be part of the programme, with the bigger vision of seeing these enterprises also becoming future locators in the Zone.


The RBIDZ is an organisation made up of real people, with a real dedication, and passion to effect real change in South Africa. This commitment and energy is apparent in all dealings with not only each other but with potential investors too.

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