South Africa is home to some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs in the world. As a publication that regularly meets and interviews local SME owners, we can say this with absolute certainty.
We also know that SA’s business environment can sometimes be restrictive for SMEs, and that entrepreneurship can be a lonely road. With this in mind, Andrew Bahlmann, founder of the CORPRENEUR™ methodology, has launched smetradezone, an online resource where entrepreneurs can meet, network, share resources and offer each other advice.
“We wanted to create a space where SME owners can find each other and assist each other,” says Bahlmann. The smetradezone was built to offer small and medium enterprises a single platform that can drive the buying and selling of products and services, provide the ability to learn more skills, the sharing of best practice and driving the power of the collective.
It creates a new market for SMEs to trade in. By using technology we have unlocked so much efficiency for the SME that they can buy and sell through online payment gateways, be notified of quotes online and action transaction in a fraction of the time that normal processes would take.
“More importantly though, we wanted to create a community that is large enough to rival corporates in terms of market competitiveness. This would include consolidated procurement benefits on behalf of our members. As our community grows, as smetradezone we will undertake to approach suppliers and secure better rates based on quantity purchases. This will start the process of bringing ‘big business’ benefits to the SME market.”
How the site works
SMEs register on the site. They are then able to search for services and/or products (I’m looking for 100 caps). Other members can then send quotes. This allows SMEs to do business with and support other fellow SMEs, ultimately building this sector of the economy.
Members can also offer advice to fellow members, and earn points as they do so. “The idea is to create a community that assists each other, and then reward them for this participation,” says Bahlmann. “The more points you accumulate, the better the discounts you will qualify for in terms of the buying power we will arrange on our members’ behalf. Everything that the smetradezone is geared for drives good business practice among members and sustainability.
The first week is free, and thereafter a membership fee of R350 per month is charged. Smetradezone is offering the first 100 sign ups the first month free. Go to http://www.smetradezone.com/ to find out more, explore the site and buy, sell, learn and connect with other SMEs.