EXPORTERS Eastern Cape hosted its 40th AGM on Thursday, 9 July 2020, a milestone for the organisation that has supported exporters in the region for four decades.

Proving that there is nothing that can get the organisation down, Exporters EC’s AGM was hosted as an interactive online event, with Jane Stevenson as the facilitator.

Special guest Denzil Lester who was attending his 40th AGM as one of the founding members and a past chairman of Exporters EC, commended current Exporters EC Chairman Quintin Levey for his consistent leadership, particularly during these challenging times, during a special video message.

“Forty years is a milestone and we can all be proud of this achievement. There are not that many organisations that can boast this. Exporters EC was started with a small number of members but as the years went by, it grew substantially. The organisation exists for members to network and exchange ideas. Exporters EC remains well on track and assists in promoting exports,” said Lester.

Levey gave an overview of the year’s highlights, including a stable membership base and income rate despite the challenges of 2019/2020.  Exporters EC has also adapted to the current regulations by hosting several webinars and online events for members.

Another highlight of the year was Exporters EC’s contribution by its members to mentor emerging exporters through the Exporters Development Programme, in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.

“We also strongly focussed on growing our relationship with stakeholders and alliance partners over the past year. We are not just a networking organisation but we are actively making a difference in the industry,” said Levey.

The guest speaker for Exporters EC’s 40th AGM was Brand Pretorius, aptly known for his turnaround business strategies during times of crisis.

Pretorius said while the reality of the impact of Covid-19 will require businesses to not only pause but completely reboot and reset to a new normal, it was possible to persevere and even thrive during this time.

“If we handle this crisis correctly, it can be a defining moment in the history of our business. We can use this crisis as a catalyst to build a stronger platform for the future. We must remain a positive outlook and not be afraid of the future. Give the future a firm handshake – make plans, take initiative and simply do not give up,” said Pretorius.

While he poignantly shared several guidelines and principles for sustainable success in the post-Covid era with the AGM attendees, he reminded the exporters that leadership played a pivotal role during times of crises.

“Being a leader is to give followers hope. Hope is a powerful source of energy and inspiration – if we don’t have hope, we can’t give hope. During tough times we should retain our sense of purpose – do not invest time and energy into worry and fear. Get involved, take action and make action,” said Brand.