RX Africa’s commitment to assisting enterprises in their skills development initiatives and the promotion of black- and women-owned businesses is a business imperative.
Says Carol Weaving, CEO of RX Africa: “As a long-time supporter of investing time, effort and finances into entities whose initiatives will impact skills and job creation, RX Africa is proud to be associated with SME TradeLinks and its achievements.”
So, who is this driver of economic inclusivity and opportunity? Dr Salifou Siddo, Chief Executive, SME TradeLinks explains.
“SME TradeLinks is a 100% black owned, level 2 BEE compliant company that brings Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) entrepreneurs, financiers, public and private sector procurement managers; as well as export agents, and experienced business mentors and coaches together to form a powerful platform that supports and accelerates growth of South African SMEs,” he says.
“The organisation puts out calls for applications to SMEs using a variety of channels to attract high growth potential entities in the tourism, hospitality and allied sectors, and help them build the critical capabilities they require to grow into thriving businesses.”
Dr Siddo says SME TradeLinks provides business development services (BDS) to these SMEs, linking them to opportunities within the value chains of large public and private sector entities, in line with the Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) element of the BEE Scorecard.
How to access funding
To meet the basic requirements to access funding through SME TradeLinks, the SME must be compliant with legal and regulatory requirements for running a small business, Dr Siddo notes, adding that some SME TradeLinks programmes have additional requirements, such as a BEE ownership profile of at least51%.
“Our business model sees us partnering with large public and private sector organisations to build the capacity of SMEs and link them to procurement and trading opportunities,” he says.
To facilitate this, SME TradeLinks’ portfolio of services includes skills development, business incubation, coaching, mentoring, access to markets and access to finance.
“We have also developed strategic partnerships with lending companies to create avenues of access to financial products for our SMME clients,” Dr Siddo says, highlighting that access to finance is one of the greatest challenges facing SMMEs in South Africa.
“Through our strategic partnership with FundingHub, we are contributing to addressing this challenge.”
The state of business development in South Africa
“South Africa, as we are all too aware, is facing a huge unemployment challenge and entrepreneurship, youth entrepreneurship in particular, is presented as one of the viable solutions for addressing the challenge,” says Dr Siddo.
“However, the country lacks a very strong entrepreneurship culture, as many people view formal government or private sector jobs as the only pathway to a good and economically secure life.”
In fact, he asserts, Government is no longer in a position to provide employment to every graduating young South African, and the private sector is currently experiencing prolonged shocks and economic downturns resulting in job losses.
“This was so even before the Covid-19 pandemic. This makes business development support critical, as it provides necessary tools and guidance young entrepreneurs need as they steer their start-ups on their way to success and sustainability.”
The RX Africa and SME TradeLinks connection
RX Africa and SME TradeLinks have been partners since 2016, implementing an incubation programme that supports small businesses that are already providing goods and services to RX or that have the potential to do so.
Says Weaving: “The incubation programme includes skills training, mentoring, coaching, and a small grant component. RX is actively involved in the implementation of the incubation programme.”
Dr Siddo adds that incubatees graduate from the programme with a Certificate of Completion as TradeLinks is a Services SETA accredited small business development organisation.
As Southern Africa’s top exhibition organiser and venue management company, RX Africa is and has a proven track record when it comes to supporting SMME development in South Africa.
“Through our many years of working with RX, we have established a solid SME incubation programme targeting the MICE sector,” says Dr Siddo. “I would encourage other companies in this sector to consider joining our programme and contribute to building it further into the sector’s preferred ESD services provider.”
Dr Siddo concludes with thanks for the SME TradeLinks/RX Africa partnership: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank RX sincerely for their commitment to small business development and their strong support of our incubator programme.”
Candidates who received supplier development support include:
Sibusiso Innocent Skosana of 1632 Crafts (Pty) Ltd; Kagiso Vilankuku of Maru IT Solutions; Ncedile Hadebe of Entathakusa Trading (Pty) Ltd; Nomaswazi Tinus of African Mamas Crafts (Pty) Ltd; and Coretta Megan Williams of Coco Tours (Pty) Ltd.
“By supporting small business development, RX is contributing to job and wealth creation in our society, and we are grateful that they have chosen to partner with our company SME TradeLinks in this endeavour,” Dr Siddo concludes.
RX is in the business of building businesses for individuals, communities and organisations. We elevate the power of face-to-face events by combining data and digital products to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 400 events in 22 countries across 43 industry sectors.
RX is passionate about making a positive impact on society and is fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment for all our people. RX is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.www.rxglobal.com
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Issued on behalf of RX Africa by: