The eThekwini Municipality and the Province of KwaZulu-Natal's Economic Development Department have identified small and medium enterprises as the key focus area within their respective economic development strategies. One of the key strategies being adopted is to facilitate new growth opportunities for the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) sector. Furthermore, national economic policy has targeted international trade, especially exports, as one of its main strategies to raise real income level of the country and its people.
UNCTAD, the trade and development arm of the United Nations, has for some years had in place a programme to support countries and areas where there is an identified need, to establish international trade facilitation points to assist SMMEs to enter international markets. Special attention is given to Lesser Developed Countries (LDCs) and other countries less advanced in trade development. Known as the Trade Point Programme, to date there are 100 Trade Points in operation in 70 countries around the world.
UNCTAD has handed its Trade Point Programme to the World Trade Point Federation (WTPF). Together with Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), the eThekwini Municipality, the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal, and the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry are the stakeholders of Tradepoint South Africa Durban. A trade facilitation centre has been established to assist SMMEs in accessing global markets.
Monique Labat, the general manager for Tradepoint South Africa in Durban, says that the main challenges facing such businesses were the costs of product development and research, knowledge of the export procedure and the high cost of banking transactions for international trade.
World Trade Point Federation Services
Tradepoint South Africa Durban is a one-stop shop for integrated delivery of trade information, transaction facilitation and electronic commerce activities for our small, medium and micro enterprises.
The two main services offered by Tradepoint South Africa Durban are rendered through the World Trade Point Federatio:
Electronic Trade Opportunities (ETOs), which allows you to post your own business opportunities online and receive responses from all over the world.
Global Trade Directory System (GTDS), which is a comprehensive database providing registered companies with instant global visibility in the form of a company profile and photographs of products thereby offering new market opportunities.
The Global Trade Directory System brings you reliable and up-to-date information on an extensive database of companies worldwide. Benefits for registered companies include:
Company data freely available to anyone with internet access
Presence on each local Trade Point website
The chance to find new trade partners and penetrate new markets
Generates new business right where trade is being promoted
Cost-saving on marketing and business travel
Access to Media Centre and Download Centre
Trade Development and Facilitation
Tradepoint South Africa Durban also offers a Trade development and facilitation service for you to initiate and complete your export and import transactions. Other services include:
General information on countries
National trade related regulations
Appointments with service providers such as banks, insurance, freight forwarders
Contact details of importers
Contact details of exporters
Trade leads from the Department of Trade & Industry
Trade fairs, exhibitions and trade missions
Business support services - travel, accommodation, visas, business letters
Advisory services related to international trade transactions
Facilitation of company business cards, brochures, web pages and blogs through SEDA EThekwini
Telecommunications services, access to computers, Internet, Email & Electronic fax
Quotes for export and import shipments from freight forwarders
The following sectors have been targeted as having potential for exporting:
Arts & Craft
Clothing, textile & footwear
Furniture & Wood Products
Tradepoint South Africa Durban is currently looking to select high end quality products manufactured in KwaZulu-Natal to be exhibited at trade shows and exhibitions in the European Union and the USA.
In order to qualify the product must be competitive in the South African market and the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), Emerging Entrepreneurs and Co-operatives should have participated in at least two local or national exhibitions in the last year. Preference will be given to BEE, youth and women-owned enterprises. At present there are over 250 registered Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises in the Tradepoint South Africa Durban programme, who have either already begun or are looking to become involved in international trade.