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A lasting legacy of business networking excellence

Being part of organised business is the answer and solution to navigate the highways and byways of our uncertain financial times

By Riaan Engelbrecht - Editior Boksburg Advertiser


The Ekurhuleni Business Initiative (EBI) has undergone a radical, exciting, and thrilling facelift as from the beginning of November 1.

The EBI, the brainchild of visionary and founder Chris van Biljon, has been rebranded as the Ekurhuleni Business Network (EBN) Pty Lt. Marius van Biljon is now the CEO of the EBN. This dynamic entrepreneur, like his father, is driven, ambitious and ready to steer this incredible business network organisation into a bright future of golden opportunities and to take the EBN onto greater heights. Chris van Biljon will still be serving in a consultation capacity, as management seeks to pave an exciting future for the EBN and its members.

The EBN, which launched 16 years ago as the EBI armed only with passion and enthusiasm, has grown in leaps and bounds throughout the years. It has become the legacy of a stalwart CEO that has week in and week out, year after year, pushed the envelope to put businesses on the map, and to see businesses in the region grow, flourish and prosper. Since 2001 the EBN has played a key role in connecting hundreds of businesses, acting as a catalyst to drive the ambitions of big corporates while addressing the challenges faced by the small and medium enterprises.

The dynamic duo of Marius and Chris harbour no intention of stagnating or slowing down. The contrary is in fact true with the EBN set for spectacular growth as this organisation repositions itself with new branding, all the while consolidating its mission and vision.

Set against a backdrop of shifting a political and economic landscape, Marius encourages role-players in the industrial and business sector to broaden their vision, to undergo paradigm shifts and to see beyond the horizons so that they can be party to the golden nuggets of opportunity on offer for entrepreneurs willing to be brave and bold.

He vigorously counters the visionary stagnation and the mundane approach to the changing political and economic landscapes of South Africa and beyond, calling for businesses small and great to reposition, to adjust, and to realign themselves within the markets of a modern on-line world exploding with technology. He believes growth and prosperity rests with vital interactions and communications between key role players in all sectors, be it business, be it industrial or political.

Repositioning and restructuring- Captains of Industry, Vandasol Group

The EBN has at the end of October repositioned itself by changing streamlining its structures and operations.

This includes holding meetings every second Monday night at 6.30pm, with meetings in the alternative weeks running Tuesday mornings from 8.20am. These meetings, drawing at times up to 100 members, offer businesses the golden opportunity to engage, liaise and network with other key role-players of the economy who as members form part of the EBN circle. Top speakers of international and national calibre, such as top economist Dawie Roodt, continue to grace these meetings to offer members excellent expertise regarding a wide variety of topics.

Another branch of the EBN is the Captains of Industry which meet regularly throughout the month, mostly in smaller groups, to ensure effective and efficient time spent to build partnerships. The EBN continues to provide a vital and valuable platform for these industry leaders to engage with one another as they build their own brand but also the economy of the region.

A third branch is the Ambassadors’ Forum, which meets around four times a year. This forum links businesses and corporates with ambassadors in order to establish trade opportunities and relationships.

One of the most unique aspects of this new network is the way previous voids are now being addressed. The Aerotropolis Business Contacts (ABC) is in collaborative agreement with EBN and ECOIF. A strong relationship has been developed with the Vandasol Group in the past few years (the MC work, social media posts, network drives and audio visual support has most often been supplied by that group’s Platinum Gold division), and has now developed into a strategic collaboration with that group’s re-hashed ABC entity. ABC operates in three distinct levels: (1) a very affordable on-line directory-like service, which includes a credibility rating/ value score for its members; (2) ABC Business Training which offers its members various professional business training options; and (3) an annual ABC Expo/ Conference for its members. A further attraction lies in members having access to advertising with Platinum Gold’s various on-line radio services. This strong collaboration is both bi-lateral as well as strategic, resulting in a win-win situation for all parties, especially members. Previously unknown levels of entry into well-structured business networking operations are now accessible. Additionally, Platinum Gold remains a recognised cooperation and support partner of the EBN, and continues to provide various 3rd Party services to all EBN and ECIOF (Captains of Industry) members.
True to its Vision and Mission

The EBN was established in 2001 to fill a significant gap that had been discovered in the business market. Because of the ever-changing business landscape and the constantly evolving business demands, business people simply need a business organisation that has created the necessary networks to connect to local and national government as well as the business community on a regional level. Only by being connected to such a network will business grow and prosper.

Today the EBN prides itself as being the ultimate voice of business as it remains on the forefront of all the latest changes, developments and shifts in the economic and political landscape.

Over the years, the EBN has held true to its vision to empower corporate, medium and small enterprises to optimally thrive in profitability and success within the economic and political culture. It has also held true to its purpose to be a leader as the voice of business in the region by providing a comprehensive networking service.

The EBN keeps striving to meet its goals to be an integral role-player in the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis; to be active role-player in all local and provincial economic development within the region; to develop a strong based of key customers; and to expand opportunities for local businesses to partner with overseas companies.

Benefits of the EBN

For almost two decades the EBN has been arduously connecting businesses with each other, with role- players in the private sector and with government, all the while ensuring its members stayed in touch with strategic developments. Being part of organised business is the answer and solution to navigate the highways and byways of our uncertain financial times.

Since the EBN works closely with local and provincial government, as well as the DTi and the Proudly South Africa, members will be kept informed about latest developments and how to strategically navigate the uncertainty of the times. The EBN endeavours to take businesses to the next level and to provide an understanding on how to benefit from the government’s effort to quicken economic growth.

Being part of a business network like the EBN, members have access to a platform and to open trade doors in order to privy and aware of the vast opportunities on offer. Through prime connections linking resources and skills, businesses become strategically positioned on the frontline of the ever expanding frontiers and landscapes of the unfolding global market. A repositioning on the business frontline is beneficial to reap the fruit of being plugged into a world of endless opportunity and exciting possibilities.

The EBN urges members to reposition themselves and to find new opportunities to ensure growth and success. Role-players in the industrial and business sector are encouraged to broaden their vision, to undergo paradigm shifts and to see beyond the horizons so that they can be party to the golden nuggets of opportunity on offer for entrepreneurs willing to be brave and bold.

A business network after all offers insight into expertise, and through the support offered by fellow peers one can navigate the “highways” and “byways” of the business network with confidence and boldness in the pursuit of excellence. By connecting with the EBN, Businesses of all scope and magnitude – macro and micro – thus have the means to reposition, to adjust, and to realign themselves within the markets of a modern on-line world where trade is swift and immediate.

As a local economic role-player, one needs to know that the Ekurhuleni and Gauteng is set undergo a vast change with the Aerotropolis concept, which Is a natural development of businesses and commercial and industrial centres that spiral outward over a radius of 20km, and even up to 60km from the airport. And the EBN is one such vehicle to ensure the businesses reap the full rewards of the Aerotropolis. With the metro therefore set to join the global market on a greater level, the business community needs to be in prime position to partake of such challenging times.

Get involved

As a role-player in our country’s economy and the volatile unfolding financial landscape, ponder the following:

* Are you aware of the exciting Aerotropolis initiative and are you on a business level part of this ground-breaking development that is rapidly changing the economic landscape of Ekurhuleni and Gauteng?
* Are you aware of the Gautrain consortium’s master transport plan, extending down to the KZN coast, and its strategic vision to extend the Gautrain routes, with a station planned for Boksburg?
* Are you aware of the multi-fold strategic initiatives of the Department of Trade and Industry and also of Proudly South Africa to boost and stimulate local businesses, especially in the manufacturing industry?
* Are you aware of the extensive investment that China is currently ploughing into South Africa?
* Are you aware of the numerous local and provincial government development incentives for business repositioning throughout Ekurhuleni and Gauteng?
* Are you privy to how the economic landscape might change in South Africa over the next couple of years, considering how the economic and political landscape is constantly shifting on a global level?

If you have answered no to one of these questions, then you might lose out on much needed knowledge, information and insight to ensure taking hold of exciting business opportunities to ensure financial growth!

In order to stay connected with all the exciting business opportunities at hand and in order to glean valuable insight into the developments within the private and public sector, then now is the time to become part of the Ekurhuleni Business Network.

Can you afford not to be part of this network?

Get therefore into the EBN vehicle to stay connected in order to reach your destination to suit your ambition and dreams!

Get in contact with the EBN

For more information or how to get involved with the Ekurhuleni Business Network, contact Marius van Biljon on 081 880 4292 or Chris Van Biljon on 073 763 9426.

Alternately, visit the EBN at www.ekurulenibusinessnetwork.co.za or on Facebook (Ekurhuleni Business Network) or on Instagram (ebnetworking)

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