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Vodacom helps SMEs procure more business

ITWEB / 05 APRIL 2018 - 14.02 / KGAOGELO LETSEBE

SA telco Vodacom has joined a multitude of private sector firms in supporting the development of small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMEs) by launching a trading portal that will give them access to a broader market.

The Vodacom Trade Direct portal is a platform that lets the telco's SME customers - both buyers and sellers - find one another in a secure and reliable online environment and eases the procurement processes to give these businesses access to new opportunities.

Chief Officer for Vodacom group corporate affairs, Takalani Netshitenzhe, says Vodacom is supporting SME development through its Vodacom Trade Direct portal.

The portal was launched earlier this week at the SMMEs in ICT Summit held at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg. It is powered by Johannesburg-based SCNet (Supply Chain Network) which provides procurement solutions to assist buyers to discover credible and empowered suppliers. The telco will also offer SMEs access to the Vodacom Ready Business Assessment which gives advice in the form of immediate insight into how well businesses are positioned to capitalise on opportunities and respond to future threats.

Chief Officer for Vodacom group corporate affairs, Takalani Netshitenzhe, says the digital portal caters for Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment companies as well as SMEs. "Small businesses have the potential to create jobs even under conditions of weak growth they also carry the prospects of leading the way to a more thriving future for the country. Through a shared and secure directory, SMEs will have access to tenders leads as well as request for quotations from various entities and in so doing allow them to solicit much-needed business."

According to Netshitenzhe, the portal offers two categories of registration. "The first category is the supplier category that gives SMEs access to eCatalogues for product promotion, a notification every time a tender matches their business keywords, as well as enabling their business' location to be pinned on Google Maps. The second category is a buyer category that allows for SMEs to advertise tenders, obtain request for quotes and connect with businesses in their geographical area."

The portal already has a network of 69 588 registered small businesses, 2 076 tenders and 21 active requests for quotes.

Late last year Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu, urged South Africans - particularly the private sector - to support SMEs. Speaking at the time, Zulu said the success of SMEs in the country would translate to better job opportunities as well as an inclusive market.

"We need to address challenges confronting small businesses and co-operatives and also influence the entrepreneurial ecosystem through active participation. Currently, we monitor progress and already between 1 April to 30 November 2017, 81 out of 184 national and provincial departments procured between 60 to 100% of their goods and services from SMEs and only 22 departments have not yet reached the 30% target."

According to Small Enterprise Development Agency, there are as many as 5.6 million SMEs in SA as of June 2017, which contribute to an estimated 34% of the gross domestic product.

Netshitenzhe notes: "We acknowledge that there cannot be full access without fairness in the sector and there cannot be fairness if access to financing for small businesses is still a challenge, if rural coverage and the cost of communication especially data are still a challenge. As Vodacom we continue to review our strategies to engage small businesses with a view to create measures that would contribute to sustainable business development.

"We are committed to aiding growth and development to SMEs and we recognise fully the value of SMEs in our markets. We have a significant opportunity to become an effective strategic partner of SMEs and to contribute to this key sector of the economy by providing relevant and cost effective ICT solutions tailored for this segment," said Netshitenzhe.

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LINK : https://www.itweb.co.za/content/mYZRXv9P693qOgA8

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