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Jozi SMMEs given a 'passport' to access international trade Print E-mail
20 March 2017
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The City of Johannesburg has partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) to support small and medium enterprises (SMMEs) penetrate international markets.

For three days last week – from March 15 to March 17 – the City and dti hosted a workshop at Carlton Centre in the Johannesburg CBD to train local entrepreneurs on how they could take their products and services to the international market.


The initiative, called the Global Exporter Passport Training Programme, is in line with one of the City’s nine key priorities – to grow Johannesburg’s economy by at least 5% by 2021 and reduce unemployment, especially among the youths.

The City was among the stakeholders that identified suitable emerging exporters and invited them to the training.

“This initiative will also increase the level of export products and services of Johannesburg’s businesses,” said Simphiwe Malimela, Assistant Director of Trade and Investment Promotion in the City’s Economic Development Department.

Malimela said the City’s aim was to build a credible exporter base by engaging in export capacity-building programmes. She said it was imperative for SMEs to have a market share in the global economy as it would provide additional opportunities to create supplier demand, enhance business growth and help strengthen the local economy.

“Exporting is one way of increasing the sales potential because it expands the ‘pie’ that you earn money from. Otherwise, you will be confined to making money only out of local markets.

“Unfortunately, in South Africa the markets are relatively small in comparison to those in North America, Europe and Asia. So, we’re encouraging our SMEs to venture into markets abroad as the local economy will be increased immensely,” she said.

The workshop covered topics such as pricing, posting, promotion, distribution, product development, adaptation for exports, packaging and labelling, feasibility analysis, negotiating techniques, export logistics, export strategic planning and drafting export plans.

Facilitator Mark Adams said there were many factors that hindered local entrepreneurs from expanding to markets overseas.

“My initial observation was the lack of information among the entrepreneurs. The training is [offered] in simple terms so people can easily grasp how the exporting industry works,” Adams said.

He said the programme would also assist with strategic planning. “We’ll do this for companies with the potential of moving overseas. After that, we’ll do the export readiness assessment and identify the improvements that need to take place, such as skills and product development,” he said.

The programme will also ensure that products meet international standards.

Solomon Magagula, dti’s Deputy Director of Export Development, Trade and Investment, said: “Right now, the South Africa economy is turbulent and a lot of businesses have reached saturation point, competing for small markets. We want local businesses to explore international markets.

“However, they’ve to follow proper channels and be aware of all the dynamics at play. They must know how they can better position themselves, looking at the vast competition abroad. This programme is the vehicle for achieving all that.”

The City will also host two export awareness workshops on Thursday March 23 at Gauteng Investment Centre, Sandton, and on Friday March 24 at Jabulani Civic Centre, Soweto.

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Last Updated on 20 March 2017