When you think ‘Eastern Cape economy’, cars and Coega might spring to mind, but you may not automatically consider the hundreds of entrepreneurs who keep cities like Port Elizabeth, George and Knysna ticking. Nevertheless, these business owners play a vital role in boosting the local economy, keeping communities strong and flourishing, and creating jobs.
At FNB, a bank built on the back of entrepreneurship, we know that business owners – both large and small – are the economic lifeblood of our nation; which is why we support opportunities to engage with this dynamic group, to learn their stories and, hopefully, support their dreams. And there is no better occasion to connect than at the FNB Eastern Cape Wine Show, taking place at the Boardwalk Convention Centre in Port Elizabeth from 23 to 24 November 2017.
Part of FNB’s Capital Route wine showcase, which includes events in the Free State and Mpumalanga, the Port Elizabeth event is jointly sponsored by FNB Private Wealth and FNB Private Clients. This joint sponsorship reveals the network that exists inside of the FNB Ecosystem- two businesses working together to support up and coming, as well as already established entrepreneurs who are building and preserving their wealth.
“The FNB Wine Show is about engaging with our clients, it’s about touching base,” says Frere Koller, Divisional Manager of the Western and Eastern Cape at FNB Private Clients. “For regions like the Eastern Cape it’s wonderful to get these events coming to town. So many events happen in Cape Town and Joburg, so it’s imperative that we show our Eastern Cape clients how important and valuable they are to us by creating some excitement and an opportunity to engage outside of formal business hours.”
Koller, who originally hails from the Eastern Cape, notes that there is a groundswell of entrepreneurship in the region, which is being driven not only by an influx of experienced business executives to coastal towns, but also by those born and bred in this part of the country who have achieved self-made success.
This melting pot of business acumen and entrepreneurial drive is creating a dynamic environment, agrees Quentin Maritz, Divisional Manager for FNB Private Wealth Southern and Eastern Cape. “We’ve seen a number of people relocating and retiring to the George, Knysna, Plett and Mossel Bay area, and a number of top executives from Johannesburg moving to the Port Elizabeth and St Francis area. That’s very good for the local economy,” he says.
FNB Private Wealth, which caters to ultra- and high-net-worth clients, is heavily aligned to helping top-end entrepreneurs flourish and “it’s a growing area of focus”, says Maritz. “Our involvement and collaboration with FNB Business also helps us to gain traction in this market.”
Key to developing these relationships is building solutions around the client, explains Maritz. “It is very important for us to have trusted relationships with our clients, so we spend a lot of time becoming almost biographers of our clients’ lives, understanding their needs, what they’ve had to sacrifice to achieve the success they have, while also helping them plan for future goals.” He adds: “We are a family focussed business and The FNB Wine Show creates a comfortable and informal event to enjoy together.”
Relationship building is also a growing focus for FNB Private Clients, which caters to a more aspirant bracket. The number of bankers servicing these clients is on the rise in the Eastern Cape, says Koller. “Interacting with a client face to face, either at their office or ours, allows us to bring more value and insight, and ensures that we put them in front of the right specialists, be it transactional banking, financial planning, fiduciary, investment or lending advice,” he says. This specialist banking approach requires being on the ground, understanding the specific needs of clients and ensuring that solutions are tailored for them.
Events like the FNB Wine Show have been extremely successful in bringing the FNB entrepreneurial eco-system together in the past and has grown from strength to strength over the years, says Maritz. Supporting ventures which fly the flag for local industries ultimately equates to also supporting local communities. And it all starts with getting to know the entrepreneur and helping them to succeed. “So many institutions focus on the quantitative, but there is a much more important side to our clients. We like to bring the qualitative side to the business,” says Maritz. And what better way to achieve that than by celebrating South Africa’s dynamic and successful wine-making sector.