FROM 1936 TO 2021 IN 85 YEARS

The Ceres Chamber of Commerce was founded on 25 November 1936 by a group of local businessmen who needed to organize uniform trading hours and act as a united voice in their dealings with the Ceres Municipality. The Ceres Chamber of Commerce was affiliated to The Association of Chambers of Commerce of South Africa and formed part of the Western Cape Chamber of Commerce. Cape Town Chamber was the main Chamber and included other Chambers such as Bellville, Paarl, Somerset West, Stellenbosch, Wellington, Worcester and Ceres. The Western Cape held an Annual Congress in all these towns on a rotational basis. Municipal, Provincial and National matters were debated and discussed and prominent business and academic leaders addressed these congresses. The Ceres Chamber of Commerce met once a month to discuss local and business issues. While the meetings were originally held in the evenings they were later changed to luncheon meetings where we invited guest speakers to address our members on topics of interest.

During the 1980`s the Ceres Afrikaanse Sakekamer joined the Ceres Chamber of Commerce to form a united group. The Ceres Chamber of Commerce was proud of producing two National Chamber of Commerce Presidents namely Japie van Eeeden and later his son Koos van Eeden who ran Luyt & Co in Ceres. Michael Reid was the Regional President of the Western Cape from 1991 to 1993, which was an extremely interesting time in South Africa.

With the changing political climate and the introduction of a new democracy in S A the local government structures were changed. The formation of the Witzenberg Municipality lead to the grouping of the towns Ceres, Wolseley and Tulbagh but also to the change in the role of the former Divisional Councils.

The Ceres Chamber of Commerce then realized that it needed to form a stronger grouping with the Farming Associations of Ceres in order to be a united force when dealing with the Municipality, who were now also directly in control of all farming services, levies, rates and taxes for the Witzenberg region.

During 2004 the committee obtained the members mandate to “facelift” the Chamber and during their planning sessions in setting their 2005 goals it was decided to change the name to Ceres Business Initiative, which was passed on 5 September 2005.

During 2012 CBI again revisited their engine room with new strategic ideas in an attempt to work closer with the Municipality in making Ceres town a better place for all. During this process it was clear that a Manager would need to be appointed to assist the committee in steering the CBI in the right direction and with the strong financial support from anchor members this became a reality. The CBI has grown from strength to strength and now fills a vital role in defending the rights of all business in Ceres and surrounds.

The ideals and goals set out in 1936 have been entrenched and strengthened.