Greater Knysna Business Chamber – a strong voice for business

The official launch of the Greater Knysna Business Chamber (GKBC) took place on Thursday 26 September 2019 at the Percy Mdala High School with over 80 members and guests in attendance.

The Chamber aims to be a powerful voice for all business sectors in Knysna, Sedgefield, Rheenendal and surrounding areas.

“It is the vision of the GKBC to make the Greater Knysna area an attractive business & investment destination. We do not only want our area to be a place to visit for a brief stay, but also for long term investment that will ensure our entire economy will prosper and grow,” says newly elected chairperson,
local businessman Mr Johnny Nkosi.

Nkosi, who was a member of the Garden Route Rebuild Initiative working group established after the Knysna Fires in 2017, further stated that the establishment of a business chamber was one of the strategic objectives set out by the Initiative. A phase two key objective of the initiative was to “build back better” for long term success and to revitalize the economy, with a functioning business chamber identified as a key milestone for the Greater Knysna area.

The GKBC board of directors consists of individuals from the broader business sector who will drive the Chamber to achieve its vision. It will be led by chairperson Johnny Nkosi and Martin Hansson as Vice Chairperson. The board is made up of Elmay Bouwer, Evelyn Pepler, Albert Lombaard, Dr Andrew Brough, Chris Schutte, Schalk van der Merwe and Ian Shrosbree.

Key objectives for the chamber have been identified as follows:

  • To formally represent Greater Knysna business interests in facilitating the growth of the local economy,
  • To unite Greater Knysna businesses to speak with one voice,
  • To formally represent business engagement with all local, regional, provincial and national government entities,
  • To formally represent business engagement with Knysna Council and Municipality and to hold them accountable,
  • To formally engage and represent business with other Chambers, business and investment initiatives and delegations, and the like,
  • To upskill business owners through various initiatives

“There have been numerous attempts in the past to establish a functioning business chamber, but for various reasons these have all failed. We are aware of the challenges ahead to make this a success and we will only be successful if we can build a strong membership base of local businesses,” says Nkosi.

The board is therefore urging the Greater Knysna business community to support the objectives of the Chamber by signing up as members, and by being part of the working groups to highlight issues that are relevant to your sector of business.

The board is determined that the Chamber will be apolitical, not serve individual interests and will represent all businesses in the Greater Knysna area, including those in informal and rural areas.

“We want to be clear that the Greater Knysna Business Chamber is independent, non-political, membership based, and a non-profit company (NPC) dedicated to promoting a business-friendly environment. We look forward to welcoming you as a member. There is strength in numbers therefore we need your support to be a powerful voice,” says Nkosi.

The Chamber’s plan of action for the remainder of 2019 is to establish the following working groups within various business sectors: Tourism, Professional, Property, Wholesale & Retail, Services, Agriculture, Manufacturing, and Non-Governmental & Non-Profit.

“Our board members have started interacting and engaging with local entrepreneurs to join the working groups so that their business ideas or concerns can be addressed through the Chamber and, together, we can drive business in the area forward,” concluded Nkosi.

The Chamber’s Memorandum of Incorporation is currently in the registration process at CIPC and will be available for viewing shortly. Membership enquiries can be directed to the company secretary

CAPTION: Newly elected chairperson Johnny Nkosi and Vice chairperson Martin Hansson

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