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Access to new markets forum sparks great interest with local entrepreneurs

Apr 12, 2018
Access to new markets forum sparks great interest with local entrepreneurs

On the 15th March, SAICA Enterprise Development held its inaugural Access to Markets event in Port Elizabeth.

The purpose of the event was to highlight the importance of understanding how SMMEs access new markets, in order to grow their businesses.

Given that this is one of the main challenges facing entrepreneurs, it was identified as crucial to create a platform to bring various role players together to discuss how to minimise this barrier to growth. The plan is to facilitate several forums like these over the next few months.

Says Jill Johnson, Senior Executive at SAICA Enterprise Development, “After our entrepreneurs graduated in March, we were contemplating ‘what’s next for them’, and this is when the idea of a forum for understanding and promoting access to markets came to the fore. And, with a national mandate attached to it with the DTI looking at the next level of black industrialists, we believe it is a serious conversation that needed to happen.”

The event comprised a panel of procurement managers from: Eastcape Midlands College; Absa Bank; Kingfisher Radio, Nelson Mandela University; Department of Roadworks; Mancosa; Chocola – Ti’esh, and an audience full of entrepreneurs.

The session included a Q&A where entrepreneurs were able to engage honestly with the panel on the challenges and realities that they face, and gain an understanding on both sides of the different economies at play.

“It’s about bridging the gap and creating better understanding. This will be beneficial for mutual growth, and change the way big business views small business and vice versa,” says Johnson.

Panellist Ethan Black, a presenter on Kingfisher Radio says, “I found the expert panel provided solid guidelines regarding the practicalities of running a business as well as the relationship aspect of building a sustainable network of satisfied clients.

"I was also impressed with the knowledge and progress that the entrepreneurs displayed through their insightful questions and their active and assertive engagement. SAICA Enterprise Development is without question playing a crucial role in the entrepreneurial space in equipping tomorrow’s leaders, and I am looking forward to what the future holds for each SMME.”

Leona Van Rooyen from Josephian (Pty) Ltd, also found the session very beneficial. She says “The information that was shared from various Governmental or Private companies, was very helpful and needed. The networking opportunity was valuable as I secured two new clients after the session.”

Another entrepreneur who thoroughly enjoyed the event was Sakumzi Bambalaza from Limelite Shuttles.

I have learnt so much from the session. Interacting with the representatives from the big corporate companies gave me confidence, direction and hope. One of the challenges I face at the moment in my business is access to markets.

"This session has confirmed to me that big corporate companies are open to the idea of doing business with young, black entrepreneurs; all I have to do is speak their language and SAICA Enterprise Development has enabled me to fully understand this by creating an environment where we can debate the challenges we face as entrepreneurs. I hope that there will be more sessions like these.”

SAICA Enterprise Development will be holding their next access to markets event on the 20th April.