SA: Cape business on the roll

By: Thandisizwe Mgudlwa – AfricanBrains

It’s boom times for South Africa’s second largest economy.

The Western Cape province’s business community clearly wants to be the leading region in the country when it comes to entrepreneurship.

This province is full of entrepreneurial spirit and opportunity, and the rapidly growing membership base of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) in Cape Town is testament to the health of the local SME sector.

EO Cape Town had annouced in March that its membership base has enjoyed unprecedented growth within the world-wide organization in less than a year, having increased by over 60 per cent in member numbers since the chapter’s launch in April 2011.

A sister organization to the well-known Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), EO is a global membership organization designed to provide a unique space and networking environment in which leading entrepreneurs can engage, learn and grow. Every member of EO must be the founder, co-founder, owner or controlling shareholder of a company grossing a minimum of R8-million (US$1- million) annually.

Graeme Prevost President of EO Cape Town says that, despite these stringent entry criteria, EO Cape Town has been one of the fastest growing new chapters in the global organization.

“The record increase in membership that we’ve experienced in recent months shows how many highly successful entrepreneurial businesses there are in the region.”

EO Cape Town was launched by EO Johannesburg to form a stand-alone chapter of EO. From its starting membership base of 25 Cape Town-based members, the chapter has recently celebrated the addition of its 40th member to its ever-strengthening ranks.

Prevost is predicting that membership will hit the 50 mark by June 2012, making EO Cape Town the fastest growing chapter in the EMEA region.

The 40 members of EO Cape Town jointly run businesses employing nearly 1,500 people and doing R1-billion in annual sales. The average age of the Cape Town membership base is just 34.

EO creates a platform for entrepreneurs to learn from each other, leading to greater business success and an enriched personal life. With the stated intention of building the world’s most influential community of entrepreneurs, EO has a presence in 40 countries around the world, boasting 120 chapters and more than 8,000 members, whose businesses jointly employ more than 1.5 million people.