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The Small Enterprises Development Agency (Seda) has launched a new trade initiative, Trade Point South Africa (TPSA), which aims to increase the participation of South Africa’s small enterprises in international trade and provide the support they need to realise efficient global trade.

TPSA has been launched under the auspices of Seda’s existing Export Development Programme. It was established as part of an agreement with the Switzerland-based World Trade Point Federation, which sees Seda being mandated to implement and manage the initiative in South Africa as well as establish Trade Point South Africa programmes and satellite offices in each province.

To date, programmes and offices have been rolled out to Johannesburg, Durban, Nelson Mandela Bay and Mbombela.  Offices in the remaining provinces will be launched in due course.

For a Trade Point Satellite to be established a process of analysis and preparation must take place as per the World Trade Point Federation and Trade Point South Africa requirements.  This process involves an assessment of the feasibility of establishing the Trade Point Satellite, the development of a business plan, the process of contracting with Trade Point South Africa, and finally, the formal recognition accorded to a Trade Point as part of the global Trade Point network.
 

As part of the programme, export-ready SMMEs can register on the Global Trade Directory System, which provides instant global visibility in 70 countries through a network of 100 Trade Point offices. So far, 207 South African companies have registered on the database, with 65% of these already exporting to various international markets, including Australia, India, Germany, France, Chile and the Americas. In the last financial year, these exports amounted to approximately R40-million.

“This is a phenomenal achievement and one we hope will be replicated many times in the future as the remaining provincial programmes are implemented. Trade Point South Africa provides a very real opportunity for South African SMMEs to initiate and sustain trade with global partners – the pinnacle of success for most small enterprises and a hugely valuable contribution to our economy,” says Seda’s Manager for Export Development, Sipho Silinda.

The programme has three core objectives – increase SMMEs’ participation in international trade; provide support services to assist SMMEs to trade more efficiently; and position Trade Point Satellites (TPSs) as ‘one-stop-shops’ offering a full range of trade-related services and information.

The services offered through the TPSs cover the complete foreign trade spectrum, from locating and analysing global markets and finding international market data to identifying foreign business opportunities and contacting overseas customers. The offices also provide access to relevant and up-to-date trade information; business networking opportunities (sometimes with foreign visitors); educational events; and information on service providers and partners to help develop small exporters and promote their entry into foreign markets.

These services are aimed at SMMEs operating in the agro and agricultural, and wholesale and retail sectors as well as those firms producing chemical, wood and forestry, cultural, mineral and metal products. Several markets have been prioritised alongside these priority sectors, including markets in SADC; traditional trade partners in the European Union and North America; and countries with which South Africa has increasing trade relations, such as China.

“We want to encourage all export-ready SMMEs to use these Trade Point facilities which have been specifically designed to increase their productivity and competitiveness in international markets, as positive economic growth depends on the success of our small enterprises,” concludes Silinda.

ISSUED BY  The Small Enterprise Development Agency
MEDIA CONTACT   Lindokuhle Nkomonde – Manager: Corporate Communications and Media Relations
E-MAIL      
lnkomonde@seda.org.za
TEL           012 441 1210
DATE         Friday, 22 October 2010