Port Elizabeth firms off to Germany in search for trade opportunities

Mend-A-Bath International

Port Elizabeth manufacturer of bath coating materials, Mend-A-Bath International, is one of five Eastern Cape companies and one of 20 from South Africa who jetted off on Sunday to Germany to participate in the month-long manager training programme of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy.

The five companies were selected to participate in the programme after the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) received an invitation from the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GIZ) to help select companies who meet their criteria.

The programme prepares firm executives to develop trade and business ties and economic partnerships with German firms. More than 13 000 executives have meanwhile participated in the training programme since its launch in 1998.

The Manager Training Programme intends to benefit 20 South African companies in 2019 and it offers sector specific training formats.

Currently the focal sectors are renewable energies, health care, waste and water management, energy efficiency in industry and in modernising buildings and food processing.

On Sunday, Mend-A-Bath International co-owner, Ian Moore, and four other representatives of Eastern Cape companies left OR Tambo International Airport for the programme which kicks off from 27 October to 23 November.

The other companies are Flat Foot Engineering (East London), Laser Mould and Die (Port Elizabeth), Afriwaste Group (East London) and Limise Promotions (East London).

“We are very thrilled to get this opportunity. It is very difficult to get into the German market remotely. You can try send emails, but those emails will not get to the right people and this is made worse by the language barrier,” said Moore.

“So by being there in Germany we will be able to meet in person with the benefit of translators where necessary. We are hoping to find business partners in Germany for our products.

“The training will teach us how to do business with Germany and it will also expose us to general manager strategies for SMMEs. We already export our products to 20 countries at the moment and the German market would be a welcome addition to the list.

“Currently we export to New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Seychelles, Mauritius, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Kenya, United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, the United States and Canada.”

ECDC trade promotion advisor, Linda Lubengu, says the manager training programme is aimed at Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SME’s).

“The programme supports companies to define and develop their foreign trade potential and it offers a demand oriented set of tools in a compact form-cost and time efficient manner. It also assists companies to establish contacts with German companies,” said Lubengu.

“It offers a number of opportunities for entering into discussions with one another in areas of common interest and in initiating joint projects. It also offers direct contact with German businesses and it opens doors to global markets with a special focus on the European market.

“Companies will gain access to a network of successful executives from countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Latin America.”

JETTING OFF: FROM LEFT: Lerato Mbomboyi (Limise Promotions), Ian Moore (Mend-A-Bath International), Pumeza Ceshemba (Afriwaste Group), Max Mabhuti (Flat Foot Engineering), and Mnoneleli Geshaa (Laser Mould and Die)

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