Vodacom has launched the Vodacom Trade Direct portal to empower small businesses and to connect business buyers to suppliers.
Small businesses have the potential to create jobs even under conditions of weak growth, and they can lead the way to a more thriving future for the country, said Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Vodacom Group Corporate Affairs, speaking at the SMMEs in ICT Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre.
“Vodacom is committed to aiding growth and development to small, medium, and micro-sized enterprises, and we recognise fully the value of SMMEs in our markets,” said Netshitenzhe.
As such, the digital portal will enable these businesses to access new opportunities through a shared and secure directory of tenders and request for quotations (RFQs).
The portal is “a true reflection of Vodacom’s commitment to growing South Africa’s small to medium-sized business sector through the use of technology,” said Netshitenzhe.
“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.”
The Vodacom Trade Direct portal offers two categories of registration:
- The supplier category gives SMMEs access to eCatalogues for product promotion, a notification every time a tender matches their business keywords, and enables their business’s location to be pinned on Google Maps.
- The buyer category allows for companies to advertise tenders, obtain RFQs, and connect with businesses in their geographical area.
Vodacom is also offering SMMEs access to the Vodacom Ready Business Assessment, which gives insight into how well businesses are positioned to capitalise on opportunities and respond to threats.
Enabling digital transformation
“The transition towards digitising transformation has seen a steady growth in reliance on networks and connectivity by SMMEs. 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,” said Netshitenzhe.
Digital transformation presents specific challenges for SMMEs, including costs, changing business models, and skills shortages. Vodacom’s ICT solutions can enable small businesses to “effectively juggle various roles in their businesses anytime, anywhere, securely, and in real-time”, said Netshitenzhe.
Technology is the vital link in providing access to knowledge and information that will also bring previously-excluded populations into the formal economy. “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, and if rural coverage and the cost of communication are still a challenge,” said Netshitenzhe.
She added that Vodacom will continue to review its strategies to engage small businesses, with a view to create measures that will contribute to sustainable business development.
“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,” concluded Netshitenzhe.
For more information, visit the Vodacom Trade Direct portal.
Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Vodacom Group, Corporate Affairs
This article was published in partnership with Vodacom.