The Department of Trade and Industry, the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC), and the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality will hold a Business Opportunities Conference at the Emperor's Palace in Ekurhuleni from 19-20 June 2007. The conference is not open to the general public, although stakeholders from government, business and organised labour will participate.

The right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ brings to South Africa a unique opportunity that extends beyond football. As a result, the conference will be dedicated to intensifying work on the identification and optimisation of economic opportunities that will benefit South African businesses in various sectors. In the process it is expected to develop a holistic approach to economic development initiatives and also clarify the roles of the public and private sectors exploiting these opportunities.

Government has always held the view that although the World Cup is a FIFA event, it will create a wealth of economic opportunities for the country and small enterprises in particular, and the conference will explore the facilitation of this process in detail.

"As the key entry and exit point to South Africa, the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality is hard at work developing roads, infrastructure, public transportation systems and electricity infrastructure linked to the O.R. Tambo International Airport. We have identified three stadiums as legacy projects which will be upgraded to acceptable norms of all sporting codes and ensure sustainability beyond 2010," said Duma Nkosi, Executive Mayor of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality.

The conference will address the challenges faced by small enterprises and local businesses with regard to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. In this regard, the conference is expected to build a partnership in identifying interventions to ensure broader economic participation and growth for the small enterprise sector in the context of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. In addition, 30% of the OC procurement budget has been set aside for procuring goods and services from the small enterprise sector and government's investment in infrastructure and services is expected to create even more opportunities for small enterprises. "Whilst we have committed to the 30% procurement spend on SMME's, we as an organization will work to not only reach this target but in fact exceed it", said the OC's CEO Dr Danny Jordaan.

Core to the department's involvement in the Conference will be unpacking trade regulations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ to ensure that participating businesses operate within the law.

Large world-scale events such as this prestigious tournament are heavily dependent on sponsor investment and the protection of sponsors' rights is integral to protecting the integrity of such events.

For further information please contact the Communications Department of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa, Tel.: +27 11 567 2010; Fax.: +27 11 494 3161 or email: info@2010saloc.com or Clement Manoko at The Department of Trade and Industry, Tel: + 27 82 3767995