Expand your business with the WC database | Feature | Small Business Connect

African Kaleidoscope Events owner, Alison Barnard, received a contract after joining the Western Cape Supplier Network in January.

Alison Barnard was able to secure a R40 000 contract with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism after registering on the Western Cape Supplier Database.

Barnard, who registered on the database in January, is the owner of catering and events management business African Kaleidoscope Events. She is one of about 6 000 suppliers registered on the Western Cape Supplier Database.

The new database replaces the old procurement system in use by the provincial government for the past 14 years, as it allows suppliers to place online quotations and to invoice buyers. The service is free.

Launched in 2012, the database is an initiative of the department and the Provincial Treasury to link the government with compliant suppliers.

“My business has been operational for more than seven years and it has improved since I registered on the new online supplier database.

“I am able to list all my services through my online profile, liaise online with buyers who notify me via email of their interest to acquire my services,” says Barnard.

She was alerted to the opportunity to register on the online supplier database after receiving an email from the database’s developers, Ariba (previously known only as Tradeworld) earlier this year.

The free integrated procurement solution (IPS) allows suppliers to create and maintain an online company profile and lists company’s compliance levels and to sends out updates on services and supplies that they offer.

“The supplier database is an integrated procurement solution which for the past two years has helped link 14 provincial government departments to about 11 000 commodities procured from local suppliers registered on the system,” says Charmel Bence, customer engagement executive at Ariba.

The company manages the online database centre on behalf of the provincial treasury.

Bence says that registered users like Barnard can also place quotations and invoices, making it easier for buyers to source supplies and negotiate payment without having to go through extensive paperwork.

“The system is an improvement from the old paperwork-filled Source-link procurement system previously used by the government to source supplies,” she explains.

Joining the network, which has access to at least 500 buyers locally, is not compulsory but will prove beneficial for any business interested in supplying the provincial government.

To register as a supplier, business owners need to meet the minimum requirements, which include providing the following information:

  • The name and the type of business and the year it was started.
  •  The type of products or services your business offers.
  •  Specify the region where your business operates so as to improve your chances of getting business in your own area.
  •  A tax clearance and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment certificate.

Bence says that Ariba allows for registered suppliers to be immediately notified of all opportunities.

“When a buyer is interested in your service, you receive an electronic enquiry to which the supplier may respond within one day of initial contact.

In this case, a supplier may show an interest by providing the potential buyer with a quotation,” she says.