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Online learning launched for craft and design sector

Tuesday, 14 April 2020  
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Small businesses and creatives in the craft and design sector now have access to business training at the click of a button with the launch of a first-of-its-kind online learning platform by the Craft and Design Institute (CDI).

The online learning platform is a collaboration between the CDI and the CSIR’s Enterprise Creation for Development (ECD). The CDI and CSIR ECD collaborated to develop the online learning solution for the sector through the support of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC). The City of Cape Town is supporting the project by providing resources for new content development. This platform will massively increase the reach of training which the CDI has been successfully delivering over the past 19 years.

According to Erica Elk, Group CEO of the CDI, the project is a significant step for the craft and design sector nationally.

“We are very excited by the potential impact that e-learning will have on the craft and design sector in South Africa. We have spent the past 19 years pioneering a methodology that has been honed to the development of creative people and businesses. Given the enormous potential in the sector, we see this platform as a very important step to equipping thousands more with essential skills that will help them succeed.”

Elk added that the launch of this opportunity for the sector is especially timely given the current COVID-19 crisis that SMMEs are trying to navigate.

“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19, particularly all small business owners, their staff and
families who are grappling to come to terms with this unprecedented crisis. Through this platform we will continue to deliver the business training we have been offering since 2001 to help creative SMMEs strengthen their businesses and their resilience. The platform has 14 business modules which are free to access; and we’ll supplement these with webinars and resources on specific targeted topics that will help small businesses during this crisis. The additional financial support from the City of Cape Town will help us do this.”

The online learning platform has been in development since 2018 and launches with the 14 free modules of training that cover all aspects of running a creative business, from product development and financial management to marketing.

The CDI is a non-profit company with over 19 years of success in developing creative people, small businesses and the craft and design sector at large in South Africa. The CDI is a catalytic agent of change in the sector, and passionate about developing appropriately skilled, resourced and digitally proficient practitioners who can successfully leverage opportunities for growth and development.

“I am excited that the City is part of this ground-breaking initiative and proud to be supporting the creation of e-learning content relevant to the needs of small businesses. As a City we support the CDI prioritising the development and resourcing of a digital strategy as a primary vehicle through which they can enhance the delivery of business support services. The shift in focus will produce positive outcomes that can assist the creative industries during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Alderman Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management.

The CDI currently supports over 5 600 businesses and individuals in the South African craft and design sector. The small businesses supported by the CDI range from start-ups to exporting enterprises and are based all over South Africa – from rural towns to urban centres. CDI’s services help these businesses develop the right product/service for the right market using appropriate business and production systems; and facilitates national and international market opportunities to help them grow.

Access the Online Learning Platform at

The platform is fully synced to the CDI online membership system, so all existing registered CDI members will be able to log in seamlessly using their existing usernames and passwords. New registrants can sign up for free with the CDI at


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