Vodacom uses technology to connect small businesses

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Small businesses have the potential to create jobs even under conditions of weak growth.

They also carry the prospects of leading the way to a more thriving future for the country.

As a means to help drive this positive prospect, speaking at the SMMEs in ICT Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre, Chief Officer for Vodacom Group Corporate Affairs, Takalani Netshitenzhe launched the Vodacom Trade Direct portal to help empower small business with access to a market of new opportunities through a shared and secure directory of tenders and request for quotations (RFQs) at the Small, SMMEs in ICT Summit and Expo, which took place at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg. 

Netshitenzhe said that the Vodacom Trade Direct is a digital portal that seeks to connect business buyers to suppliers and caters for Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment companies and Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs).

The Vodacom Trade Direct portal offers two categories of registration. The first category is the supplier category that gives SMMEs access to eCatalogues for product promotion, a notification every time a tender matches their business keywords, as well as enables their business’ location to be pinned on Google Maps. The second category is a buyer category that allows for SMEs to advertise tenders, obtain RFQs and connect with businesses in their geographical area.

The portal, which already has a network of registered small businesses, is a true reflection of Vodacom’s commitment to growing South Africa’s small to medium-sized business sector through the use of technology.

“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. 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,” said Netshitenzhe.

“We acknowledge that 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, if rural coverage and the cost of communication especially data are still a challenge. As Vodacom we continue to review our strategies to engage small businesses with a view to create measures that would contribute to sustainable business development.

“We are committed to aiding growth and development to SMMEs and we recognise fully the value of SMMEs in our markets. 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,” concludes Netshitenzhe.

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Thabo Mphahlele is the BizNis Africa Head of Sales and Marketing. Mphahlele was previously MultiChoice Production Support Analyst responsible for developing and monitoring applications. In addition, Mphahlele develops and automates batch scripts and is responsible for the daily infrastructure maintenance at MultiChoice. As a Production Support Analyst, he is responsible for incident analysis solving , developing and constructing business reports for SQL and Oracle and implement change controls for the business. Additional responsibility includes monitoring system performance via SOA, Kibaba (Elasticsearch), H.P BSM, HP Sitescope. Mphahlele is responsible for creating infrastructure performance reports through HP Ops Analytics, monitoring payments via Splunk and in-house built-in tool and disaster recovery simulation and testing. At Nashua Mobile, he was responsible for application development and enhancing the web sites At South West Gauteng College, he was the IT Technician and Network Administrator. During his tenure at Double Digit Media, he was he focused on application and web site development for new and existing clients Mphahlele contributes as a Content Manager for BizNis Africa.

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