German trade mission boost for Bay businesses

Trip, scheduled for September, will take 10 to 15 Bay entrepreneurs to Germany

A trade mission to Germany could open doors for a handful of Nelson Mandela Bay companies primed to export their products to international markets.
The trip, scheduled for September, will take 10 to 15 Bay entrepreneurs to Germany under the leadership of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and the Department of Trade and Industry.
The chamber’s operations manager, Prince Matonsi, said the mission was a pilot project for the chamber.
“The chamber has the project lead role [in terms of] recruiting and selecting eligible companies and supporting the SMMEs’ needs on the mission,” Matonsi said.
“The mission is aimed at creating a platform for the SMMEs to explore investment opportunities by way of exporting value-added products and services and forging business links.”
The department would be funding the mission through the Sector Specific Assistance Scheme funding for emerging exporters, though participants would be paying for their own visa applications.
“Traditionally, the Department of Trade and Industry takes companies to trade shows,” Matonsi said.
“In this instance, the chamber has decided that [the] itinerary should be tailored to suit the needs of companies that make the short-list, so that the maximum benefit can be derived from the visit.”The chamber has already received numerous applications from businesses in the eligible sectors, which include agro-processing, automotive, creative industries, tourism and hospitality, business process outsourcing, civil engineering services, and metals and allied services.
Matonsi said Germany already had a significant footprint in the metro and South Africa as a whole.
“We believe there are existing synergies that emerging SMMEs can benefit from,” he said.
“Chamber president Thomas Schaefer volunteered to lead the group, and his vast knowledge, experience and contacts in Germany will add to the enrichment of the mission.”
Interested member companies have until June 8 to apply to join the mission.
They must have been in operation for more than 12 months, be participants in a structured export development programme, and have been involved in only limited or no export activity.
The business must also be 51% owned by blacks, female entrepreneurs or disabled people, or have an annual turnover of under R25-million.

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