THE MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES
The only Government office on the ‘First Thursdays’ map
MEC Alan Winde is responsible for the portfolios of Agriculture, Economic Development & Tourism. Joining First Thursdays is a Western Cape Government initiative to increase our accessibility to residents, ensuring that ‘This City Works For You’
first thursdays cape town
‘First Thursdays Cape Town’ is a free (cultural) experience where art galleries and other attractions in the city districts stay open late, on the first Thursday of every month.
WHY WE participate
In a drive to make his office more accessible to businesses, entrepreneurs and the public at large, Minister Winde has set the Ministry of Economic Opportunities the goal of becoming the most accessible government office in the country!
To kick start this goal, he moved his offices to 142 Long Street - one of the most vibrant streets in the CBD and to dispel the concept of ‘ivory towers’ his office has no security detail, no metal detectors and no annoying ‘sign the register’ system – making this South Africa’s only government Ministry located at street level and directly open to members of the public.
In addition to this, Minister Winde has joined the First Thursdays initiative, whereby his offices are open for extended hours, from 17:00 - 21:00 on the first Thursday of every new month. The aim is to give entrepreneurs and businesses the opportunity and platform to network, book events, stimulate sales and build contacts by promoting and exhibiting their products and services to invitees, investors, as well as WCG officials and the broader public. These evenings also offer guests whom could not be accommodated in the diary, the opportunity to engage Minister Winde in a 15 minute session, one-on-one, giving them the opportunity to pitch their idea, make a suggestion, ask pressing questions, bring attention to an urgent matter or make a business proposal – whatever the case may be! In addition, representatives from his two departments are on hand to assist, this way cutting down on ‘red tape’ processes and giving you direct contact! He is present at every event and the staff in his office are ‘on duty’ to support wherever needed.
HOW IT WORKS
By transforming into an exhibition space, the office provides a platform for interested exhibitors to showcase their products and services - there are no costs involved. Every month carries a specific theme (and we already have themes committed up to April next year!). Interested exhibitors will contact (or simply ‘walk-in’) the office and we add their details to our 1st Thursdays ‘exhibitors log’ - from there, we slot them into the aligning theme which best suits their product or service. During the month leading up to the event, there is ongoing communication - keeping the exhibitors ‘in the know’ of event details and progress and they are also invited to pop around the offices, meet the team and get to know the space. During that visit we give them a ‘run down’ of proceedings and on the night, they arrive with their products, promotional material, branding and décor. They are welcome to set-up from 15:00 onward and the staff are on hand to assist where needed. Should their business or service fall outside the ambit of our portfolios, we accommodate them in our ‘Entrepreneurs / Business Exhibits’ – a recurring theme, providing the same platform and exposure. Every business contributes to the creation of jobs and the growth of our economy – therefore we don’t believe in turning anyone awayJ
GETTING THE WORD OUT
Each 1st Thursday is advertised on the First Thursdays website and route maps, as well as on Minister Winde’s social media pages. We do ‘live streaming’ of every event and Minister Winde’s spokesperson sends media alerts to the newspapers, the WCG’s media database as well as the public. Invitees are also encouraged to spread the word, as we love to have as many feet through the door as possible.
THINGS TO KNOW
- 1st Thursdays is done as a service to our communities and staff are not compensated for the added workload, longer hours or extra efforts in any way - they do it in support of Minister Winde in his bid to better serve the people of the Western Cape.
- The office also has a ‘wine wall’ where we afford the region’s wine producing farms the opportunity to showcase their top and award winning wines – major contributors to the tourism sector.
- When available, the events also offer wine tastings from Elsenburg (the agricultural college) outside of Stellenbosch – this is where some of our region’s top wine makers are born and bred.
- Minister Winde also hosts resident (and world-renowned) artist Mel Elliott at every event where Mel gives a live painting demonstration. Visitors actually witness a blank canvas transform into a masterpiece – very popular with our art fanatics.
- His work is also displayed and for sale at our offices – we do not receive any financial returns.
- Mel has an outreach project where he takes students from impoverished communities, ridden with gangsterism, drugs and crime and provides them with optimism and hope, in circumstances where there seem to be none. He provides them with the canvas, brushes, paint and knowledge and teaches them the art of painting - in this manner contributing to skills development and job creation. Some of their works are also available and for sale at our offices (known as the outreach wall) and all proceeds generated from there goes back to the budding artist – we do not receive any financial returns.
1st Thursdays is a practical, workable and sustainable initiative, bridging the gap between Government and communities in the Western Cape – ensuring we are 'Better Together'