South Africa has a great potential to take a front seat in the Natural Ingredients space. The country’s biodiversity, diversity in agricultural zones, entrepreneurial spirit and highly educated workforce offer a sound foundation to develop and market high quality and innovative ingredients for the health, cosmetics and food sectors.
Unfortunately, the business environment is not enabling the sector to take full advantage of this foundation. During earlier strategic conferences and missions conducted by Robbie Hogervorst a group of stakeholders were identified which could play a key role in improving this business enabling environment, either by offering the right services through the right channels, or a platform for cooperation, or by aligning legislation better to business realities.
In the latest CBI mission, which Robbie Hogervorst conducted together with CBI’s institutional expert Jim Tersteeg, these stakeholders were visited and forward actions were discussed. This included, among others, support to national departments to develop strategies and tools for SME development, as well as support to align efforts between departments and between departments and business support organisations in the country. Another important component of the institutional support project in South Africa is to focus on capacity building of these business support organisations themselves, for example in terms of service development and income generation strategies.