New business forum CEO up for the challenge

STAFF REPORTER

Arifa Parkar from Rylands has been appointed as the chief executive officer of Western Cape Business Opportunities’ Forum (WECBOF), a promotions agency for business, mainly small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) in the Western Cape.

Palash Moodley, chairperson of WECBOF, said they are confident that with her vast local and international business experience, Ms Parkar will steer the organisation to serve the business needs of its members, as well as to adapt to an ever-changing commercial and economic environment.

For the past 21 years, WECBOF, which is member-based, has been effectively working as a service association providing business people with relevant information, training, business opportunities, and representation on appropriate investment, in the public sector, and related platforms.

WECBOF’s core objective is to improve business performance in order to achieve improved levels of economic growth and employment, to reduce poverty, and meet social objectives.

To achieve its objective, WECBOF focuses on addressing issues such as contributing to the establishment of an environment that is conducive to a free market based on competitiveness, access to financial and other business support services, and expanding markets for products and services.

The diversity of WECBOF’s membership offers a vital source of contracts, information, and resources to ensure the continued growth and strength of the organisation’s policy and lobbying role.

Ms Parkar said while the position is a challenge, she is delighted to have been chosen and hopes to live up to it. “When they approached me I was very comfortable in my position and did things on a small scale. This new position will be on a bigger scale.

“This is a very challenging position, but I have been with the Chamber of Commerce in the marketing department for a while so I know how the business organisation works,” said Ms Parkar.

WECBOF’S short-term deliveries from April to December this year will be to facilitate a resource and information exchange between government, formal businesses and SMMEs by hosting information exchange sessions. It will also facilitate and deliver support services such as training and networking opportunities, and access to relevant forums through seminars/workshops, big conferences/symposia and networking sessions all over the province.

The forum will also design appropriate programmes to cover every aspect of start-up businesses, from marketing to business policies and to literally hold the hands of “survivalist” businesses (those who are in business as a means of economic survival) to ensure that they seal their first business deals. This includes mentoring and training more than 25 “survivalists” into the mainstream economy.

Another short-term delivery is to design a specialised training and mentorship programme for new entrepreneurs and to contribute to the creation of a “society” which stimulates the growth of new and existing businesses through the promotion of economic policies and the simplification of financial instruments at legislative level.