BY: SCHALK BURGER - 30TH AUGUST 2022
The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) provides support to small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs) in terms of export readiness, export development and export promotion as part of efforts to drive industrialisation, development and competitiveness.
The DTIC hosted a webinar on August 30 to brief SMMEs about the support the department provides and the benefits available to companies developing exports, including improving the resilience of enterprises, supporting diversification of markets and products and building competitiveness.
"We have accepted that trade is an important engine of economic growth and development. We are mindful that many regions in the world have been able to lift many people out of poverty through the development of trade and exporting," said DTIC export development, promotion and outward investments deputy director-general Lerato Mataboge.
"In driving industrialisation, it is clear that an exporting economy and export-led growth are needed. Trade and exporting generate jobs and income opportunities, and help to build competitiveness in participating enterprises that have to compete on a global stage," she said.
Exporting companies also have greater access to markets and trade opportunities and the risks they faced are less concentrated.
"Trade and exporting are necessary for expanding the industrial base in South Africa," Mataboge said.
She provided a breakdown of the direct support the DTIC provides in South Africa to SMMEs that want to develop export capabilities, including supporting participation by a representative to attend trade exhibitions in identified strategic markets.
"We provide holistic support through the National Exporter Development Programme (NEDP) in terms of export readiness, export development and export promotion. We host capacity-building sessions that provide detailed information on how to negotiate deals and arrange logistics, as well as on exporting requirements, such as regulations, standards and labelling requirements.
"We also help with strategic market selection and analysis, as well as helping to develop a marketing plan. All of these support mechanisms are at no cost to the entrepreneurs," she said.
After completing the NEDP, enterprises are awarded a Global Exporter Passport from the DTIC signalling their readiness to pursue export opportunities, Mataboge added.
Meanwhile, rail and mining equipment and component manufacturer Pamodzi Unique Engineering CEO Sindisiwe Dlamini told participating entrepreneurs that the company had benefitted over the long term from exports, as it had provided it with leads and opportunities to produce and export additional equipment based on identified demand.
"We have been participating in exhibitions, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana during this year. What helped us as a company was that, while we went to these events to sell our products, our interactions with other attendees often made us realise that there was more we can offer," she said.
As Pamodzi has in-house engineering capacity, these leads on potential opportunities also often helped it to raise the profile and priority of various engineering projects and product development.
"We have been able to move some of the projects we are working on from category B to category A projects and/or to fast-track certain projects as the demand is there, based on what we have seen and heard at the exhibitions," Dlamini highlighted.
She added that, while most of these opportunities were not realised overnight, the engagements with industry participants and exposure of the company to other participants and opportunities provided Pamodzi with the knowledge and incentive to do more than it currently was.
‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’