Small businesses have the potential to create jobs even under conditions of weak growth. They also carry the prospects of leading the way to a more thriving future for the country.
As a means to help drive this positive prospect, speaking at the SMMEs in ICT Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre, Chief Officer for Vodacom Group Corporate Affairs, Takalani Netshitenzhe launched the Vodacom Trade Direct portal to help empower small business with access to a market of new opportunities through a shared and secure directory of tenders and request for quotations (RFQs) at the Small, SMMEs in ICT Summit and Expo, which took place at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg.
Netshitenzhe said that the Vodacom Trade Direct is a digital portal that seeks to connect business buyers to suppliers and caters for Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment companies and Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs).
The Vodacom Trade Direct portal offers two categories of registration. The first category is the supplier category that gives SMMEs access to eCatalogues for product promotion, a notification every time a tender matches their business keywords, as well as enables their business’ location to be pinned on Google Maps. The second category is a buyer category that allows for SMEs to advertise tenders, obtain RFQs and connect with businesses in their geographical area.
The portal, which already has a network of registered small businesses, is a true reflection of Vodacom’s commitment to growing South Africa’s small to medium-sized business sector through the use of technology.
Netshitenzhe said: “The transition towards digitising transformation has seen a steady growth in reliance on networks and connectivity by SMMEs. Our role has, therefore, been to enable these small businesses to connect to these networks, thereby allowing them to tap into new market opportunities for growth. Vodacom Trade Direct aims to promote employment and economic development for South Africa. The Trade Direct portal is the perfect tool to efficiently manage procurement needs by simply connecting suppliers and buyers on an online portal.”
Vodacom will also offer SMEs access to the Vodacom Ready Business Assessment which gives advice in the form of immediate insight into how well businesses are positioned to capitalise on opportunities and respond to future threats.
“We acknowledge that there cannot be full access without fairness in the sector and there cannot be fairness if access to financing for small businesses is still a challenge, if rural coverage and the cost of communication especially data are still a challenge. As Vodacom we continue to review our strategies to engage small businesses with a view to create measures that would contribute to sustainable business development.
“We are committed to aiding growth and development to SMMEs and we recognise fully the value of SMMEs in our markets. We have a significant opportunity to become an effective strategic partner of SMEs and to contribute to this key sector of the economy by providing relevant and cost effective ICT solutions tailored for this segment,” said Netshitenzhe.