Government trains local SMEs to expand internationally

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Pretoria - Government continues to prioritise the creation of a vibrant export culture.

This as the Department of Trade and Industry, together with the Tshwane Economic Development Agency (TEDA), hosted an exporter development training session in Pretoria on Wednesday.

The session was aimed at preparing small medium enterprises (SMEs) for the successful expansion of their businesses into international markets. 

Director of Export Development at the dti, Vusi Mweli, said for South African companies to become globally competitive they have to know what they are up against when it comes to offering the same products or services as their foreign counterpart in the same market.

“Businesses have to know the steps to export, what it entails and the main parties involved in a typical export transaction. Becoming globally competitive translates into South African businesses contributing to the economic growth of the country and job creation,” Mweli said.

Mweli added that companies needed different types of services and interventions at various stages of their export development.

Capacity building and export training supported by mentorship are such deliberate interventions to enhance export readiness of companies under scored by the Global Exporter Passport Programme (GEPP).

“The dti developed the GEPP as a training programme that forms part of the critical component of the National Export Development Programme (NEDP), and therefore acts as a guide that gives insight into how businesses can develop their export capabilities,” he added.

The GEPP initiative focuses on export capacity-building and the training of emerging and experienced exporters to ensure their export-ready status and sustainability in the international market.

The programme builds on existing activities and capacities of the dti, provincial economic development departments, provincial trade and investment agencies, Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) and other international and local stakeholders to ensure the delivery of key interventions to emerging and experienced exporters.

Export Development and Promotion Specialist at TEDA, Tebogo Mphephu, said the training will enhance and capacitate market competitiveness of emerging and experienced exporters within the City of Tshwane, and create an enabling export platform by addressing the significant aspects of market entry thereby growing employment, with an ultimate contribution to economic growth.

She said government prioritises the creation of a vibrant export culture within South Africa in order to increase the number and quality of exporters through outreach programmes and export awareness targeting potential exporters.

The training covered topics such as pricing, costing, promotion, distribution, product development, adaption for exports, packaging and labelling, feasibility analysis, negotiating techniques, export logistics, export strategic planning, and drafting an export plan.

Department engages business

Meanwhile, the dti hosted a breakfast session with leading big business in Cape Town on Wednesday to unpack the details of the newly-launched Strategic Partnership Programme (SPP).

The session follows the official announcement of the new programme by the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies at the Africa Trade Summit Expo and Smart Procurement World Conference on Tuesday.

Speaking to businesspeople on the sidelines of the conference, the Deputy Director General of Incentives at the dti, Malebo Mabitje-Thompson said the session was hosted to encourage business to partner with the department on the SPP.

This was to ensure that there was mutual understanding in terms of what is expected from businesses which want to participate.

“We want to create a culture in South Africa where business can work with suppliers to give products to big business. Through the SPP, the dti wants commitment from big companies that they will buy products from the smaller companies to enable them to have a market and further develop them to become part of the strategic partners supply chain,” said Mabitje-Thompson.

She highlighted that this was done to broaden the scope of people participating in the economy.

“The programme is about supplier development and therefore we will work with existing brownfield companies. We are looking for big business which will work with micro-enterprises to assure them of a market. The big companies need to identify micro-enterprises and assist them with issues of quality and standards,” said Mabitje-Thompson.

She added that one of the core criteria was that the business had to be involved in manufacturing.

The dti will be rolling out similar business engagements to other parts of the country in order to ensure that there is broader understanding and participation in the scheme. -

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