Share this article

Joburg opens the door for emerging exporters

Emerging businesses need to understand each trade agreement South Africa has entered into with various countries across the world and position themselves if they want to be big players in the market, an export awareness seminar heard on Thursday December 1.

The seminar, held at the Johannesburg Theatre in Braamfontein, was hosted by the City of Johannesburg in partnership with the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency.

It aims to equip small and emerging businesses that want to venture into outside markets with the necessary tools to succeed. It also demonstrated how they could use government platforms to expand their enterprises across the borders.

“As traders you need to understand the global agreements and where South Africa fits in. International trade is managed through trade agreements and it’s important that those willing to break into the international market understand the rules and regulations.

“The world is getting smaller but complicated,” said Shonisa Seema, Manager of the International Trade and Development Unit in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Seema also demonstrated how South African business could access lucrative American markets through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Sam Letsoalo, also of DTI, said local and international trade fairs were the best vehicles to expand one’s business and gain exposure. There has been a steady increase in export sales as more players enter the international trade space.

Letsoalo said export sales reached R4-billion between January and October this year. Of this amount, R740-million was generated by Gauteng alone.

Another DTI representative, City Phaahlamohlaka, told delegates it was possible to gain global market share and reduce dependency on local markets. He said the DTI was able to link businesses with other players in the same sector to enable them to service the global market better.

He said going it alone in this market was near impossible, urging that businesses should instead build partnerships and use platforms the government had negotiated with other countries.

Productivity SA Manager Moatli Matthews said to operate efficiently, understanding of the business environment was critical. He said businesses rose or fell due to the way they managed their productivity.

“To be a success one will have to start by understanding the basics before thinking of venturing into the outside world,” Matthews said.

Reginald Phoolo, Trade and Investment Promotion Director in the City’s Department of Economic Development, said businesses should look beyond South Africa and Gauteng.

“We can only grow our economy by going outside. That needs skills and know-how. Through this seminar we hope there will be greater understanding of the opportunities out there,” Phoolo said.

The owners of emerging businesses said there was a growing need to move to the implementation phase and begin to link opportunities to their businesses.