IN AN effort to advance ordinary township residents into the mainstream economy through "Christian economics", the St Phillips Catholic Church in Moletsane, Soweto, will hold a business conference.
About 600 people are expected to attend the conference on August 22 at the University of Johannesburg's campus in Soweto.
Speakers will discuss investing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and will encourage delegates to develop small businesses in townships. They will also discuss debt management, saving, business management and planning.
"Many people expect opportunities from others," said Pastor Sikhosiphi Mgoza of St Phillips. "They must [learn] that they can do it for themselves.
"Our aim is also to contribute to job creation and to enhance people's self-image.
"It is the duty of the church to develop a person as a whole: financially, physically and spiritually."
The church has invited speakers from the National Empowerment Fund, Impala Platinum, Thebe Securities, the National Credit Regulator and Bula Mahlo Investments.
The church has its own heavyweights in business and congregation members Simon Mohapi, managing director of SM Mohapi Financial Services, and Sipho Nkosi, owner of WSN Business Enterprises, will also give presentations.
"People live with the myth that the JSE belongs to whites. We will give proper advice and leadership," Mohapi said.
"In townships people have traditional ways of bringing money together, such as stokvels and burial societies, but they don't invest the money properly. We will encourage them to invest that money on the JSE."
He said that inadequate business planning was the biggest challenge to the formation of small businesses in townships.