WC creating linkages for buyers and sellers | Advertising Feature | Small Business Connect

Stephen Manual now employs 15 full-time staff thanks to assistance from the Enterprise Development Fund.

Some 500 local suppliers in the Western Cape can now enlist on an integrated electronic procurement network, following the launch of the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s (DEDAT) access to markets programme.

Supply Chain Network, which uses an online system to connect buyers and sellers, has been appointed to manage the programme. Launched in 2012, the procurement portal is currently used by over 3 000 buyers who can instantly source services from any of the portal’s 20 000 small supplier members, says the portal’s director Malcom Farrell.

The department says the programme will offer small enterprises exposure to potential buyers.

“The programme assists small business owners to receive notices on tenders, quotations and invoicing facilities and acts as a marketplace for businesses to sell their services,” it says.

Farrell says many businesses struggle to join procurement databases because of such things as lengthy application processes and long response times.

To join the online portal, suppliers must be qualified in their respective field of work, and their businesses must be registered and compliant with industry protocols.

“A lot of suppliers struggle to understand the significance of being a compliant supplier. There are many regulations in place that businesses should take note of,” says Farrell.

These regulations include routine registration validation by the Companies and Intellectual Properties’ Commission (CIPC) and tax compliance checks by the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

By joining the network, suppliers will be able to make online submissions on quotes and invoices in a matter of seconds.

Cape Town business owner Samanthia Olifant, who runs construction and building services company Spotless Sam, was alerted to the initiative when she received a call from the department informing her about the opportunity.

She says before joining the programme she had struggled to market her business and apply for government tenders.

Since registering on the portal she has been in contact with various big businesses.

“We have been approached by a division from Eskom to register on their database. We have also been approached by someone from Johannesburg to paint their flat which is in Cape Town. I also receive online daily notices from the Western Cape government on quotations and tenders” she says.

Registered members can create and manage their own company profiles, while marketing their services to big corporates by publishing their compliance levels.

Monthly membership fees for the portal amount to R195 per month or R2 340 per year, says Farell. But those companies accepted into the programme will only have to contribute R65 a month (or R768 per year).

  •  Contact DEDAT on 021 483 9026.