MEDO, the South African development group last year offered entrepreneurs training as well as international exposure to business and investment partners. Last week, 12 businesses returned to South Africa from the International Trade Programme in the UK.
After hundreds of entrepreneurs across South Africa applied for this opportunity, 14 were eventually chosen. The aim of the trip was to stimulate trade between these successful entrepreneurs and UK partners to further job creation in South Africa.
This is the organisation’s third such endeavour and Bjarke Gotfredsen, Joint CEO & Co-founder of MEDO says, “Our first tour had a success rate of 20%, our second 50% and this one I would say anywhere between 70 to 80%.”
A tour such as this one, Gotfredsen says, opens their minds to the opportunities and possibilities out there. “The focus on this tour was the ICT sector and we want to grow that sector by investing in it through initiatives such as the MEDO ITP and in doing so bring these entrepreneurial businesses into our supply chain.”
One participant, Henk Koekemoer, owns CashCow which is an accountancy board game and kit. He managed to receive an endorsement from the International Association of Bookkeepers. Furthermore, the Serious Gaming Institute will be developing CashCow into a digital format meaning that it will become available for mobile devices in the future.
Other entrepreneurs who successfully secured deals abroad include Itumeleng Legodi of Systemwox ICT in Centurion. Using services such as bulk SMSes and crowdsourcing, his business provides ICT business solutions to companies so they can operate more efficiently.
Josias Motsoeneng and Hendrik van Rooyen of AC Electromech in Middleburg, are very pleased with the tour. Motsoeneng explains why such tours are great for international exposure:
“A tour such as this also allows us to see what other entrepreneurs in other countries are doing, and how their governments and institutes are assisting them. MEDO and BT have given us the opportunity to engage in conversation at the top, instead of us fighting for the bottom to be heard to get to the top”
Kennedy Kitheka, of Fundi in Cape Town, provides academic and training institutions with a delivery mechanism for their digital material. He says the tour gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to see what they are capable of and to realise they are not that far behind in terms of technology. “Even if you do not seal a deal, you learn a great deal.”
The next MEDO tour will be in September this year. We’ll keep you updated on that front.
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