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Data tool to assist business people in Durban

A businessman using a laptop.

File Picture

Published Jul 26, 2023


Durban - Entrepreneurs looking to set up a business in Durban have a “new” tool they can use to improve the odds of success.

The City recently gave details on the Spatial Economic Activity Data it has compiled. It is a breakdown of economic data to a granular level which analyses the economic powers and purchasing power of individuals down to a suburb or area.

Justice Matarutse, the programme manager for innovation from the City’s Economic Development Unit, unpacked this tool recently on the City’s communications platform, eThekwini Matters.

He said the data would allow business people to pinpoint locations where there would be potential customers.

The City said the information was accessible through the Durban Edge Portal, the website is Economy.edge. Durban

Those wishing to use the information can download it as curated information or get it as raw data.

“The spatialisation is adding a location to this (data). This is important because this information (about location) was not available to us before,” he said.

Matarutse said usually when they received information from the national government or Stats SA, it would be general information about the economy in the City and as a result they were not able to make a comparison of the economic performance of the different areas in the City.

“But because the information is now spatialised, we now have location, we are able to compare between suburbs and wards in our city, which is something that we have not been able to do before.

“We really did not have information at a localised level and we needed to understand this.

“For example, if we want to have a project in eThekwini where we are uplifting the economy of the township, we need to understand the official information on the ground to help us make these decisions.

“And because of the information being tax data, we can understand how people are earning, and look at whether incomes in a particular location have been increasing or decreasing which can tell us about the prospects of that area,” he added.

He said the City was using data internally for its planning and development purposes and external individuals could also use it for their personal benefit.

“If someone wants to start a business, for example, they want to open a restaurant, by using this data, you can select an industry sub-category for restaurants and see how these are distributed in the City.

“At the same time, you can overlay economic information to say ‘where are the people earning within the income bracket, where they can afford to buy’ so you can layer this information to answer your specific business information needs.”