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CDI delivers much-needed support online

Thursday, 30 July 2020  
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The CDI has seen an immense uptake of its online training and support consultations offered over the past few months. Thanks to its funders, the CDI embarked on a large-scale ramp up of support activities offered online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – the focus has been on helping businesses to navigate the unprecedented crisis and find new ways to operate.

The CDI launched its online learning platform in April, which is a first-of-its-kind online platform enabling access to business training at the click of a button. CDI currently offers 14 free modules of training that cover all aspects of running a creative business, from product development and financial management to marketing.


Since April, through its business and product support hub team and through bringing on board a host of expert facilitators, the CDI has also run 16 webinars on a range of topics to help businesses. Topics included navigating the available COVID-19 financial relief schemes; digital and social media marketing; sustaining creativity under lockdown; ecommerce; and forecasting amongst others. These saw 435 attendees, with webinars offered being fully booked within just 24 hours in most cases. In addition, the CDI’s Rosemary Cooke and Caragh Barwise also conducted 94 business and product support consultations online.


“We have been very encouraged by the uptake of our webinars and are endeavouring to add new and relevant topics to our offerings during this difficult time. The one-on-one consultations have been mostly about assisting business owners to implement their pivoting strategies to cope with challenges, and to eventually succeed in the new economy,” said Rosemary Cooke, the CDI’s training manager.

Also initiated and run over May and June was the CDI Masterclass Series, another online first, which was geared to giving more established craft and design businesses the tools to help them keep going and keep jobs in place. This Masterclass Series – under the banner Your road to recovery – commenced on 21 May and was made possible thanks to the support of the City of Cape Town. Each webinar offered was fully booked in a short space of time with 297 people participating in the eight modules. The modules that comprised this series are making their way into the regular programming of the CDI webinars and are being further developed so they can be available on the CDI’s Online Learning Platform.


Image above: CDI's Online Learning Platform (


Here’s what some of the business owners had to say:


Just a short note to tell you how amazing the CDI has been over the past couple of weeks. You have just taken to the new digital environment smoothly, and the opportunities for me to attend the webinars and the masterclass have been invaluable for me. This opportunity to take part is just what I need to survive and take my business to the next level, THANK YOU CDI! – Rika Herbst, Bohlokoa Studio

We are lucky to have the possibility of benefitting from workshops with such highly competent lecturers as Navine Christian. He was extremely clear, balanced in his presentation of the perspectives and I felt energised after attending this session. African Jacquard is regularly attending (CDI webinars) and grateful to benefit from all the initiatives of the CDI – Michele Cassuto, African Jacquard

This was such an amazing presentation. For the first time, I am now able to link bits into one place and am able to understand holistically. Really extremely valuable and thank you for the opportunity. – Eugenie Drakes, Piece


I am so grateful to the CDI for the free webinars that have been offered relating to business in these very uncertain times. The calibre of the presenters has been extraordinary and the information they've shared has been top quality and relevant. I have gained an incredible amount of new, applicable knowledge. – Liz Browne, Cocoa Cherry

Sincere thanks for a most interesting and informative Webinar! Most appreciated. – Sarah Wassell, Waz Outdoor

Please thank Navine for a really great presentation. Even though I have the services of a marketing 'guy' it has been vital for me to REALLY understand the process – which I now finally do!! This means I can be a better guide in terms of what we do to increase brand awareness, sales etc. I am also loving this online world and all the webinars that are being offered. – Marcelle Warner, Vertical Veg

More to come online soon


The CDI will be rolling out many more webinars and adding to its 14 free available modules on the online learning platform as well, says Erica Elk, CDI’s Group CEO.

“Just as the many SMMEs supported by the CDI have had to adapt and do so swiftly, the CDI has had to make a big shift too to ensure that we can provide high levels of support to the craft and design sector at this time. We are making every effort to design and run offerings that will be impactful for businesses. We know that craft and design SMMEs are severely challenged right now, and we thank our funders for supporting our initiatives to do everything we can to help these businesses now and in the months to come.”


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