12th May 2017
In April this year the Grahamstown Business Forum engaged the services of a Communications Specialist to develop the membership of the organisation.
While the GBF has seen substantial growth in membership over the past two years, only a small percentage of businesses are currently members of the organisation, a situation which weakens the GBF’s ability to fulfil one of its primary aims of representing all businesses, business-owners and managers across Grahamstown, irrespective of nationality, culture, race, gender, age, religion or political affiliation. In addition, many business owners and managers report to be oblivious to the existence of the GBF and unaware of the work that the organisation is doing to create an environment conducive to business development and sustainable business growth in Grahamstown.
In the face of a host of seemingly insurmountable challenges to business in Grahamstown, the GBF took a strategic decision to start by focussing on the low-hanging fruits: those changes that are more easily attainable and which would have the most immediate and visible impact on business conditions. Focussing on a clean and safe Central Business District, the GBF is in the process of establishing an alternative car guard/parking system in collaboration with the Community Policing Forum and Postgraduate Diploma in Enterprise Management students of the Rhodes Business School. While this project is currently being implemented in Bathurst Street it is anticipated that it would be rolled out to other areas in the CBD once all systems are in place. Similarly, the GBF collaborated closely with other civic organisations such as the Grahamstown Residents’ Association to clean up the streets in the CBD before last year’s National Arts Festival. Acknowledging the unsustainability of such once-off actions however, the GBF proceeded to engage with the Office of the Premier in a bid to find long-term solutions to the challenges faced by the Local Municipality. This engagement also demonstrated the GBF’s strategic decision to work with local government in a spirit of cooperation, a strategy which the organisation beliefs to be crucial for creating and sustaining a supportive business environment.
Reu-Anne Mentoor is ideally positioned to support the GBF in accomplishing these aims. She has lived in Grahamstown all her life and completed her Matric at Victoria Girls’ High School. Having subsequently completed a 2-year qualification in Graphic Design at Damelin Port Elizabeth, she proceeded in obtaining a BA Degree in Communication through UNISA. Reu-Anne also completed a short course in Social Media Marketing through Shaw Academy and plans to continue her studies in 2018.
In 2013 Reu-Anne was elected to participate in the Laphumilanga Leadership Programme for young leaders run by the Democratic Alliance – a programme which she feels has enriched her character and abilities, both politically and in the workplace. Having completed an internship at Grahamstown Hospice as their Communication officer, Reu-Anne now offered her expertise and services to the Grahamstown Business Forum.
Reu-Anne’s strategy for engaging business is to introduce the GBF and herself by email, also providing them with the information and membership application form. Since she is aware of the many demands on the time of business owners and managers, this initial introductory email will be followed up with a telephone call and a personal visit if necessary. Business owners are encouraged to welcome Reu-Anne and support her in growing the membership of the organisation. Rather than waiting for Reu-Anne to contact them, business owners are invited to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to request membership information and application forms to be emailed to them.