A wise old sage once said that one should earn one’s daily bread where one most keenly wants to live. Stellenbosch is a local business hub a mere twenty-eight kilometres from an International Airport, and not much further from the Port of Cape Town either. Its proximity to these two vital ports of entry and exit makes Stellenbosch a prime candidate to benefit from international trade: the local wine industry exports all over the world, and the student population is a market for imports like the different brands of laptops for sale, tablet PCs, computer hardware, and many other consumer goods. It certainly is a good place to base a business in terms of growth potential, even without mentioning the intrinsic charms that make one want to live there too.
The two main drivers of the economy are the local Wine Industry and the University, both of which inject significant capital from outside. They are major employers who are inclined to spend their budgets locally where this is possible, and both show every reason to be in business for a long time too. Their markets are extensive and potentially open ended – this has helped cushion the town of Stellenbosch during recent difficult economic times.
The adjacent farmlands represent South Africa’s primary viticulture areas, and the wine and brandies they produce enjoy excellent reputations all over the world too. The local University is also the nation’s centre for viticultural research, and continuously develops improved technologies that feed though to individual farms. A wine-tasting route attracts large numbers of wealthy tourists who support the local hospitality industry in return, while a generous supply of clean, clear water and favourable soil types bode well for the long-term future of this renewable industry.
Stellenbosch University is home to almost 25,000 students, and 800 lecturers and staff at over 50 research institutes and service bodies. It has an inclusive range of faculties and produces a sought after quality of graduate, many of whom will choose to remain in Stellenbosch if given half a chance. In recent years the University has been a crucible for change, where different creeds and cultures are creating a new reality that bodes well for the future of this historic Town.
To promote the future of the Town the Municipality has partnered with the University and the local Sustainability Institute to forge a strategic partnership to take Stellenbosch through to the next century and beyond. The main themes developed in harmony with stakeholders and local businesses include biodiversity, energy, food security, water, and waste management. This unique initiative will ensure that Stellenbosch continues to remain a significant regional hub well into the future too.
The adjacent township is upbeat, with money pouring into development and many new businesses already well beyond start-up. A new generation of tourists is discovering the excitement of black culture and hospitality, and every month more and more of these overnight there, to experience an African home-away-from-home. There is also a growing technology community that is beginning to flourish in Stellenbosch and as a result many of the residents have taken to online shopping.
There are innumerable other reasons why living and working in Stellenbosch makes such good sense. The Town provides the ideal balance between modern urban comforts and a wholesome place in which to raise a family, and perhaps retire some day. There are many excellent schools that have enviable reputations thanks to their associations with the University. And right up there in order of importance are majestic mountains that are not only magnificent to behold, but also inviting to explore.