The official launch of the Informal Economy Development Forum (IEDF) was a historic event that reiterated the need for collective action to bring about economic transformation within the informal economy. On March 11, The Shimansky Company provided a glittering backdrop to a congregation of leaders within the informal economy, private sector representatives, government officials and leaders of associations, in celebration of the IEDF as the unifying structure of South Africa’s informal economy and the leading advocates of its formalisation. 

As the national representatives of over 5,2 million informal economy workers, The Informal Economy Development Forum aims to drive economic growth within the informal sector; to provide support towards the development of informal workers and to bridge the gap between the different entities – the informal economy, Government, and Corporate South Africa.

The first area of focus for the IEDF is to get informal businesses’ funding ready, with a specific focus on woman-owned businesses. Financing is essential to achieve business growth and there are certain requirements businesses must meet to obtain access to funding. The IEDF will facilitate this process. Another key area of focus as the IEDF is to stimulate entrepreneurial opportunities to combat the high unemployment rate which is prevalent among our youth.

David Venter, IEDF Chairperson remarks: “The informal economy represents one third of all employment in South Africa and is a critical economic incubator for both job creation and entrepreneurship, yet it receives very little support from Government and the formal economy, and it is exactly this which we are aiming to change. The informal economy is a strategic partner and important economic participant, and it is in everyone’s interest that this sector is protected, supported, and geared for growth.  A strong informal sector that is central to the economic development goals of our country is also important for alleviating poverty and joblessness and for embedding a culture of inclusive and sustainable growth. The IEDF’s key objectives are to improve the business, labour, and regulatory environment in which informal businesses operate, ensuring equitable access to skills development and training, finance, and the removal and simplification of regulatory requirements that prohibit growth.  “People who run informal or micro businesses are inherently motivated to succeed.  They are hardworking initiative-takers who, with the appropriate training, skills development and business environment, can play a larger, more valuable role in the economy.

The process of formalising a business requires support from corporate and government – each of these entities have targets they want to meet and a partnership with the IEDF helps them to achieve their objectives.

The IEDF ultimately wants to bring the informal economy, the private sector and the government together in a space where they can collaborate on projects and campaigns to stimulate job creation and improve the livelihoods of all South Africans.


The IEDF National Team


Paul Bester (IEDF); John Volkwyn (IEDF); David Venter (IEDF); Jannie Basson (Livewire)



Chantal Maxim (IEDF), Kelly Smuts (Shimansky), Claire_Pohlman (ei Management Company)                                                           


Representatives from IEDF, TUMSA and SAWIMA




  1. Nokuthula Rejoice Mbhamali

    Hi I’m looking for forward to this launch as I’m looking for funding for my dairy farm project in Abaqulusi VRYHEID

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