GEORGE NEWS - The George Economic Development Initiative (GEDI) progressed last week with the training of the core team that will be facilitating several workshops. George Municipality's job creating initiative will be taken one step further on 28 February, when a kick-off workshop will be held.
At the first workshop, local stakeholders are expected to take an active role in an economic development initiative through fast analysis and action learning. "The EDI focuses on quick, visible wins." So said Project Leader, Guy Harris, who this week gave feedback on the GEDI launch held last week at Lawaaikamp.
He added "We were trained by a very experienced facilitator, and he was complimentary about the preparatory work done. He was also positive about the team's ability to deliver results. He warned the team about the intense work that would be required in the first half of March, but was confident the team is up to the challenge."
On 28 February, when the GEDI's kick-off Workshop takes place from 10:00 to 12:00 at the Civic Centre, the focus of this important initiative will be on substantial and sustainable economic growth and job creation in George, to help address unemployment, poverty and inequality. Harris said "The idea is to build off our inherent economic strengths and viable opportunities. The intervention will position George positively in the eyes of local stakeholders. The focus is on leveraging business to create a better society. PACA (Participatory Appraisal of Competitive Advantage) is a methodology to prepare an action-oriented diagnostic of the local economy. This is to initiate economic development initiatives, and to assess and refocus ongoing economic development activities.
Harris added "At the workshop the focus will be on inclusion and action rather than long winded speeches and talk shops. If you have not yet responded please send an email to email@example.com.
The aforementioned workshop will be followed by interviews and mini-workshops, using a variety of techniques including the World Café approach. The workshops will focus on Tourism (including retail and services), ICT, Manufacturing and Agri/Agri-processing. "If you are a business or stakeholder in these sectors and would like details of the workshops, email firstname.lastname@example.org," said Harris.
The focus is on these primary and secondary sectors that will enhance growth in the tertiary sectors such as wholesale, logistics, education and services.The positive positioning of George for economic development will also support the continued development of the area and therefore the growth of construction and property. There will not be a separate workshop on small and medium enterprises, but they will be included in the appropriate workshops.
"They are part of the important value chains and must be recognised as such" said Carli Bunding-Venter, the Municipality's Economic Development Manager. Micro enterprises will also benefit from the growth in the primary and secondary sector small, medium and large businesses. In view of distances, a separate workshop will be held in Union-dale/Harlem on 13 March.
"At the end of this process George will have a focused suite of stakeholders, identified quick wins, medium-term projects and specific agreed-on activities to effect economic revitalisation. The process is participative without being long-winded. It is action orientated and projects will be driven by businesses themselves, rather than waiting for others to assist."
For further information, also visit the municipal website www.george.org.za and press the PACA button or sms 082 559 8755. You can also interact with the team via the Municipal Facebook page and Twitter account.
ARTICLE: PAULINE LOURENS, GEORGE HERALD JOURNALIST