Business of Design – a conference aimed at entrepreneurs and business owners to architects, marketing managers, retail staff, web designers and event planners – offers practical tools to affect immediate growth from some of the country’s top business experts and design professionals.

Weylandts founder Chris Weylandt is among the speakers in the lineup at Business of Design 2017.

Business of Design returns to Johannesburg and Cape Town in October. The two-day conference that has had a positive impact on South African businesses since its inception in 2014 is led by some of the country’s top business experts and design professionals. While being inspirational, the conference also offers practical tools to affect immediate growth.

Business of Design’s 2017 lineup includes talks by:

  • Weylandts founder Chris Weylandt
  • Silo District architect Macio Miszewski
  • BlackNation Media co-founder Mduduzi Simelane
  • Award-winning furniture designer David Krynauw
  • Rocking the Daisies co-founder Craig Bright

With talks covering topics such as ‘Creating Engaging Experiences for Brands’, ‘Scaling Up: taking your business to the next level’ and ‘Taking a Local Brand Global’. Over 15 presentations offer relevant information to an audience looking to transform the way they work within the South African and global context.

David Krynauw, award-winning furniture designer.

‘Business of Design appeals to anyone who feels they need a business boost,’ says programme manager Tracy Lynn Chemaly. ‘We’ve had over 1,000 delegates in both cities over the course of four conferences, and they range from entrepreneurs and business owners to architects, marketing managers, retail staff, web designers and event planners. A great testament to what we are doing is that many of our delegates return year on year for more lessons and inspiration.’ Tracy explains how the alumni network has grown, with many success stories of collaboration and exchange coming from the networking sessions held at the end of both days of the conference. ‘Even our speakers benefit from this interaction,’ she says.

The network of alumni speakers now spans 116 of South Africa’s top designers, business experts and industry consultants who have provided delegates with an insight into what it is to grow a successful business in this country. 2015 speaker Natasha Sideris, founder of Tashas says: ‘I was so impressed by the quality of the event, the speakers and the sessions. It is an inspiring conference that brings together great minds, great ideas and great people, providing an amazing platform for creative entrepreneurs to learn, share and grow.’

Macio Miszewski, Silo District architect.

Alumni speaker and two-time delegate Abigail Bisogno, owner of Spice Route, agrees. ‘It is very inspiring to be exposed to so many talented South Africans in such a variety of disciplines and fields. For me, the most beneficial part of Business of Design has been the networking. Some very large deals have transpired and I have found a support group that I can call on in my new-found career as an entrepreneur.’

Founded by The Guild Group’s Trevyn and Julian McGowan, and Platform Creative Agency’s Laurence Brick and Cathy O’Clery, the annual conference has become a not-to-be-missed event on South Africa’s business and design calendars.

2017 speakers include (see the Business of Design website for each city’s speakers):

  • Adrian Morris / Partner and MD, Design Partnership / The Physical Reboot: responding to a changing landscape
  • Ann Nurock / Africa Partner Relationship Audits and Management / Case Studies and Trends from Cannes International Festival of Creativity
  • Chris Weylandt / Founder and CEO Weylandts / The Basics of Retail
  • Christine Strutt / Partner, Copyright and Trademark Attorney, Von Seidels / Building Blocks and Learning Curves from the LegoTape Case
  • Craig Bright / Co-owner Vic Falls Carnival, Co-founder Rocking the Daisies / Less is More: refining your core focus
  • Dave Scott (The Kiffness) / Meme-generator, Planet-shaker, Thought-leader and Music-maker / Going Viral on Social Media
  • David Krynauw / Furniture Designer / Material Ambition
  • Gordon Cook / Co-founder Vega School / Rethinking Almost Everything About How Business Should Operate
  • Hannerie Visser and Marc Nicolson / Founder Studio H and Founder Thinking / Creating Engaging Experiences for Brands
  • Jeremy Stewart / Founder and Executive Director Source IBA / The Art of Presentation
  • Josef Talotta / Executive Head: Commercial, Retail & Precinct Development South Point / Curating a City
  • Justin Letschert / CEO Bio-Oil / Taking a Local Brand Global
  • Laduma Nxgokolo / Founder, MaXhosa by Laduma / Keys to Success
  • Lufefe Nomjana (Spinach King) / Founder, Espinaca Innovations / Keys to Success
  • Macio Miszewski / Co-founder VDMMA / Reimagining a Forgotten Silo District: the architecture of an urban precinct
  • Mduduzi Simelane / Co-founder BlackNation Media / The Future of Content Creation in the SADC Region
  • Nicola Cooper / Trend researcher, Analyst and Cultural Strategist / Trends That Shake Businesses
  • Rob Stokes / Chairman, Red & Yellow / Why Creative Thinking is the Most Important Skill of the 21st Century
  • Thando Hopa / Model, Lawyer and Activist / Talk title TBC
  • Thebe Ikalafeng / Founder and CEO, Brand Leadership Group, Founder and Chairman, Brand Africa, Deputy Chairman, South African Tourism / Talk title TBC
  • Yehuda Raff / Founder and Director iPartners Africa / Scaling Up: taking your business to the next level
  • Zurika Nabbi / Head of HR, Direct Axis Group / Managing Talent

More speakers to be announced


Mduduzi Simelane, co-founder of BlackNation Media.

  • Cape Town 11-12 October (Red & Yellow, 97 Durham Ave, Salt River)
  • Johannesburg 18 -19 October (Vega School, 444 Jan Smuts Ave, Randburg)


  • Early bird (before 21 August) R3 400
  • Business of Design alumni R3 000
  • Students R2 500
  • IID and SACAP members R3 500
  • Full price (after 21 August) R3 950

SACAP & IID member CPD credits apply.

Group discounts for five or more.

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