The Garden Route offers special economic opportunities that are not being fully realised. InvestGardenRoute has been conceived as a vehicle to promote the conversation about growing business, investment and the sharing of ideas that can be exchanged to turn opportunities into real projects.
The Founder’s passion for the Garden Route originates in being born in Oudtshoorn, spending many summer holidays in the region and learning about economic development during a four year stint with the IDC. As a career corporate financier, he has invariably been involved in projects where economic development has been a key component.
The aftermath of the 2008/9 global downturn has resulted in a struggle to revive economic growth and job creation. In the US, the Brookings Institution has coined the phrase “reinventing economic development” to describe “collaboration”, being the practice whereby stakeholders work together in partnering to turn potential opportunity concepts into viable sustainable projects.
InvestGardenRoute is a call to our region’s roleplayers to step up and collaborate to secure a sustainable future for all its citizens. There is an abundance of skills and abilities in the region, massive potential, so we need to collectively seek solutions for increased levels of economic activity. We are going to have to do this job to champion our region because outsiders are not going to be doing it for us!
The Garden Route region is defined as a core area of George, Knysna and Mossel Bay as they represent two-thirds of the Eden District economy that also extends to the surrounding areas of Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay and Riversdale to cover the area within a radius of approximately 150 km of George.
What we Do
As an economic development catalyst, we plan to talk to participants within various economic sectors about opportunities, how collaboration and partnering can provide solutions, find ways of raising the necessary capital, launch projects and provide the guidance and mentorship to grow businesses. In this endeavour it is likely that we will need to identify and bridge hurdles ranging from red tape, developing a market for products or services and raise funding for projects.
Collaboration can be described as a purposeful relationship in which all interested parties strategically choose to cooperate in order to achieve shared objectives. As it is voluntary by nature, success depends on one or more collaborative leader’s ability to build and maintain the relationships to cooperate. Teams that work collaboratively can obtain greater resources, recognition and reward when facing competition for finite resources. Using structured methods the aim is to achieve success for the teams as they engage in collaborative problem solving efforts.
The Garden Route region is blessed with skilled individuals, much potential and many opportunities. The purpose of InvestGardenRoute is to bring together people with ideas and abilities on a collaborative sharing basis to turn opportunities into active, viable, profitable projects.
While much of the world outside the Garden Route grapples with many issues, the citizens of the Garden Route can collaborate to benefit from a better, sustainable future.
The InvestGardenRoute platform has been established by Leon van Wyk, a chartered accountant by training. His experience in accounting, financial management, strategy, management, corporate finance advisory and economic development consultancy stretches over three decades.
After obtaining a B Com at UCT in Accounting and Economics and qualifying as a chartered accountant with Arthur Young & Company, he spent four years with the IDC as an investigating accountant before joining RMB in corporate finance. In this period experience was inter alia obtained in engineering, agro-processing and food production, furniture manufacturing, hospitality and tourism, private hospitals, oil and gas, mining and mineral beneficiation, manufacturing (industrial products through to clothing and textiles), financial structuring, internal financial planning models, venture capital transactions, etc.
After a period in private practice as an accountant and corporate financier, a return was made to main-stream corporate finance as a partner in various practices undertaking JSE initial public offers, mergers and acquisitions as well as private equity transactions particularly for the SME sector, as well as serving as an accredited JSE sponsor executive and designated adviser. Additional sectors covered included real estate and commercial property, financial, construction, pharmaceutical and health products, beverages, IT and technology, renewable energy, etc including corporate restructurings, inward and outward investment, and empowerment transactions.
In 2006 he initiated a leveraged transaction to acquire a commercial property portfolio that was managed with partners until the management team disposed of their interests in 2010. Greybeard Business Catalysts was formed in 2010 and undertook a number of assignments with the objective to raise an investment fund. This project was shelved when Leon became a George Municipality councillor and Member of Mayoral Committee for Finance for the 2011-16 period.
VISION & MISSION
Promote increased economic activity, investment and tourism to the Garden Route to ensure financial and economic sustainability through increased levels of employment while sustaining the quality of lifestyle in a beautiful natural environment.
Although the Garden Route regional economy has slowly recovered from the effects of the 2008/9 economic downturn, economic prospects for the South African economy continue to be sluggish. The Garden Route regional economy needs to grow to enable job creation that will alleviate poverty and unemployment. Increased economic activity is critical to ensure financial and environmental sustainability.
InvestGardenRoute is a catalyst project to promote collaborative discussions and actions to encourage individuals, corporates and communities to participate in partnering in this project to ensure increased economic activity in the Garden Route region.
InvestGardenRoute will seek to discuss, assist and advise participants in the various steps to achieve the objectives of increased economic activity and employment.
InvestGardenRoute’s strategy is to secure investment funds to grow economic activity within the Garden Route region.