Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  30 Sep 2008

INTERNATIONAL TRADE: Free Training in Export Success


Recent Western Cape Business News

Dutch government agency CBI (Centre for the Promotion of Imports) has completed a visit to South Africa in search of local entrepreneurs to participate in export training.

The training equips manufacturers to succeed as exporters to the European Union.

CBI senior consultant Peter van der Sman told reporters during his visit that there is an ongoing search for South African candidates in the automotive, castings and forgings, general engineering, rubber, plastics, motion control, drives, power transmission, pipes and process equipment industries.

The costs of training, international travel and initial exposure to the European market is borne by the Netherlands government. A token investment of €1000 is requested from the candidate company to ensure commitment to the programme.

Van der Sman emphasised that CBI is entrepreneurial by nature, and not bound by the red tape generally associated with state organisations.

“We respond and act very quickly,” said van der Sman.

“We want to find South African companies that are committed to succeed in the European export market, and with whom we can form a long term partnership of up to eight years for mentoring and success.”

CBI’s stated mission is to contribute to trade-led economic prosperity in developing countries by strengthening the competitiveness of their exporters in the EU market.

This is achieved by targeting and selecting potential exporters as recipients of knowledge and skills transfer by means of coaching programmes, EU market information, and ongoing training.

Market information such as market surveys, export manuals, details of market access requirements, sector alerts and e-business reports are all provided or made available.

All training and initial participation in European trade exhibitions is at no charge.

Van der Sman explained that applicants for coaching need to manufacture a product that is saleable in Europe, and should be willing to demonstrate an established quality control programme, a willingness to adjust production under CBI advice, and sufficient capacity to increase production.

“We currently mentor 300 successful exporters worldwide, and want to build this number to 450 over the next year, drawing in as many suitable South African manufacturers as possible,” van der Sman said.

He explained that the training would provide candidate companies with practical knowledge and the skills needed to successfully establish and continue exports to the European markets.

Topics include export marketing and management, trade promotion, managing EU trade fair presentations, developing customer oriented market information systems, and customer relationship management.

CBI has been involved in South Africa since 2002. Its successes include APE Pumps, Castco, Prestige Furnaces, Kaymac Rotomoulders, Ajax, RGR and Gunric Valves.

CBI’s annual operating budget is €23-million, with an on-hand order portfolio at any one time of approximately €150-million. A head office staff of 43 manages 150 external product and marketing experts, 30 local consultants (one of them in South Africa), and more than 100 support service providers.

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