File image: Vodacom. IOL.

CAPE TOWN - Mobile communications group, Vodacom has launched an online portal, Trade Direct which connects small businesses and aims to generate a thriving marketplace for SMME’s. 

Despite the current economic climate, Vodacom says that small businesses have the potential to create jobs and can possibly lead the way for the country to achieve a more optimistic future. 

As a result of the strong emphasis placed on small, medium and micro enterprises, Vodacom launched an online portal, Vodacom Trade Direct which aims to connect small businesses to the business marketplace. 

At the SMMEs in ICT Summit which was held the Sandton Convention Centre, Chief Officer for Vodacom Group Corporate Affairs, Takalani Netshitenzhe said that the portal will empower small businesses with access to a market of new opportunities. Businesses will be able to access a secure directory of tenders and request for quotations (RFQ’s), said Netshitenzhe. 

The executive added that Vodacom Trade Direct also caters for Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment companies and SMME’s. 

“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.

        Picture: Chief Officer for Vodacom Group Corporate Affairs, Takalani Netshitenzhe. (Supplied). 

How the portal works:

It provides two categories of registration.The first category is for suppliers. Here, suppliers are able to access a range of content which includes eCatalogues for product promotion. They can also receive notifications when a tender matches their business keywords. In addition, the supplier can have their business location pinned on Google Maps. 

The second category is for buyers. In this category, SMME’s can advertise tenders, obtain RFQ’s and connect with businesses within their geographical area. 

The portal already has some 69 000 sign-ups and over 2000 tenders, said Communications Manager for Vodacom Business, Andile April. 

Vodacom will also provide SME’s with 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.

The transition towards digital transformation has grown the connectivity of SMME’s, said Netshitenzhe. 

“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”, concluded Netshitenzhe.

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        Picture: Vodacom Trade Direct. (Screengrab). 

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