Last year I was approached by a group of business people, historians and leaders in civil society in the UK's West Midlands to accept the position of Patron of the Chance Glassworks Heritage Trust. It did not take me long to agree.
The Trust has been formed to preserve and redevelop what remains of the once famous site of the Chance Brothers Limited glassworks in Smethwick, founded by my great great great uncle Robert Lucas Chance in 1824. My grandfather, Sir Hugh Chance, was the last family member to chair the company before it was taken over by long-term rival Pilkingtons. The factory poured its last glass and finally closed its doors in 1981.
Since then the site has fallen into disrepair but many of its Grade 2 listed buildings are still standing and cannot be demolished. The trustees have a grand vision to restore the buildings and add new ones, including a full scale lighthouse in recognition of what is probably Chance Brothers' greatest achievement, the manufacture of over 2500 optics for lighthouses and other aids to navigation supplied to nearly 100 countries across the globe.
The site will have multi-purpose usage including offices, a hotel and conference centre, a small business incubator and innovation hub and affordable housing units. Situated in a very depressed former industrial part of the UK, the site will offer opportunities for entrepreneurship, technological innovation and social renewal which are much in keeping with the ethos that sustained Chance Brothers during its 157 year history.
The Trust recently launched its website which you can find here. I and the trustees would be happy to hear from anyone who has an interest in its activities or wishes to donate time, money or resources to this worthy cause.
History West Midlands magazine has been championing the Trust in its publications and website - see here for their recent newsletter.
HWM has also just published a special edition on the 1851 Great Exhibition, which was housed in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park. This iconic building was glazed by over 900 000 square feet of glass made in Chance Brothers's Smethwick glassworks, and was where James Timmins Chance, my great great grandfather, exhibited the firm's first dioptric lighthouse apparatus. For more information on the firm's lighthouse business, visit my website here.
Tuesday, 9 August 2016
The August 3rd municipal elections are behind us and we are in the midst of an unprecedented period of gamesmanship by the contenders for power in over twenty hung municipalities and metros throughout the country. The outcome of negotiations to form coalitions, particularly in Johannesburg, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay and Ekurhuleni, could well determine South Africa's future and certainly influence voting patterns in the 2019 provincial and national elections.
It is against this backdrop that I am publishing a talk I gave at my church three weeks ago, as the topic of political realignment is very much on people's minds now.
A day in the life of an MP, and:
Are we heading for a seismic shift in SA’s political landscape?
A discussion evening hosted by the Centre for Christian Spirituality
Led by Toby Chance MP
St George’s Anglican Church, Parktown, Johannesburg
20th July 2016
Wednesday, 13 July 2016
Democratic Alliance press statement by Toby Chance MP DA Shadow Minister of Small Business Development
13 July 2016
In replies to parliamentary questions from the DA, neither Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan nor Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu, could provide substantive details on the mandate, composition, governance structures, funding, board of directors or launch date of the venture capital fund that President Zuma announced to much fanfare on 09 May, over two months ago.
This means that the job creation promised by this venture capital fund will be stalled because of government’s hollow commitment to placing job creation at the apex of its agenda.
Monday, 13 June 2016
DA mayoral candidate for Tshwane Solly Msimanga pickets outside the Department of Small Business Development
This morning, the DA staged a picket outside the offices of the DSBD at the DTI Campus in Hatfield, Pretoria protesting the high levels of unemployment in the city and the Department's failure to fulfil its mandate to bring it down by supporting small businesses.
Sadly I could not attend as I was at an event in Joburg where our mayoral candidate, Herman Mashaba, introduced all our ward and PR candidates to the media.
Below is Solly's hard-hitting speech which includes some practical and immediate steps he would take on being elected the DA mayor of Tshwane.
One of the issues I have taken up since my appointment as Shadow Minister of Small Business Development is the appalling neglect of the township industrial parks in Gauteng. These were set up in the early to mid 1980's by the Small Business Development Corporation, a joint venture between government and the private sector headed by Anton Rupert's Rembrandt Group. They were an attempt to get around the Group Areas Act, which prevented blacks from owning businesses in areas designated for whites, which was where the economy of South African was concentrated.
Wednesday, 8 June 2016
Democratic Alliance press statement by
Toby Chance MP
DA Shadow Minister of Small Business Development
Toby Chance MP
DA Shadow Minister of Small Business Development
08 June 2016
The DA calls for the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) to bring to a speedy conclusion the disciplinary inquiry initiated against officials suspected of being involved in collusion and bribery in the issuing of loans.
Since November 2015 the DA has been in correspondence with small businesses owners in Tshwane who raised concerns about alleged fraud at SEFA. Six months later the matter is yet to be resolved.
Monday, 23 May 2016
President Zuma made much of his May 9th announcement of a new fund to finance entrepreneurs. It’s the first tangible deliverable of the collaboration government and business promised after their emergency meeting convened in February, prompted by the fallout from Nenegate.
The DA’s 2014 election manifesto called for the formation of a National Venture Capital Fund. How does this new fund stack up?
Zuma and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, and business at large, are relieved South Africa has so far avoided the dreaded ratings downgrade. The announcement came just three days after Moody’s retention of its investment grade rating for the country, seemingly emphasising government and business in partnership are serious about supporting small businesses and the important role they play in creating jobs and stimulating growth.