BUSINESSLINK : LINKING SMES TO GET MORE AND BETTER BUSINESS

One sign that the Zimbabwean economy is slowly recovering and actually growing is the number of construction projects going on in various cities and towns. If you get near a construction site you won’t fail to notice a large board(there is one at the corner of Speke and
First Street in Harare, where Innscor is building a Chicken Inn outlet).
On such sign boards, you will notice the following wording:
• Project: Construction of ABC
• Contractor : DEF Company / Partnership
• Civil Engineer: GHI Civil Engineering (Member of the Zimbabwe Institute of Civil Engineers)
• Quantity Surveyor: JKL Quantity Surveyors (Member: Association of Quantity Surveyors)
• Electrical Engineer: MNO Electrical Engineers ( Member ZIEE)

Do you notice how these four firms link together to work on one project? People who are into contract work, be it construction, project management, consultancy etc, know how to pool resources in order to canvass for business and then work together on the contract. Such linkage has many advantages, including:
1. One firm does not need all the skills / manpower required to carry out the work, but can specialize and become more efficient.
2. A number of small firms , if they link together to form a consortium, will get big projects that they would otherwise not be able to get or manage as individual entities.
3. Financiers may be willing to lend to a consortium than to a small entity, because of the spreading of risk as well making the funds invloved worth their time (small amounts below $50,000 waste their time and the returns are not worth it).
4. Bigger projects mean bigger profits for everyone.
5. Bulk buying enable the group to negotiate price discounts.
6. You can lease expensive equipment affordably as a group.
7. You can pool resources for bigger marketing and promotion campaigns
8. You can share industrial or office space and have a “big company” image.

SME BusinessLink wants to promote cooperation and linkages among SMEs so as to enable growth acceleration. Our role will be to provide a platform for SMEs to meet, share insights, ideas and opportunities and enable linkages to take place. We will do the following to promote such linkages:
• Organize and facilitate regular sessions where SMEs can meet network and share ideas.
• Approach government departments, institutions and big companies to canvass for business opportunities; we will invite their representatives to attend the networking meetings and share information and ideas with SMEs.
• Provide a market information network for the various sectors so SMEs can identify profitable opportunities.
• Maintain information databases for the various industries
• Enhance competitiveness through training programs and materials to equip SMEs with essential business and management skills
• Provide a pool of professional consultants to assist those SMEs who need help or advice in evaluating business opportunities, making proposals, seeking finance, drafting contracts, agreements etc.
• Promote SMEs products and services through BusinessLink Magazine as well as online.
• Organize specialized SME product and service exhibitions to be attended by invited buyers from big firms, institutions, government departments as well as other SMEs.

How to get on board

Paid up subscribers to SME BusinessLink Gold Club get automatic membership and can start benefiting immediately. Those taking up subscription until the 30th of June will also get automatic membership. After that, a membership joining fee as well as subscription fees payable by those who wish to join.

Benefits of being a member of SME BusinessLink

a) Listing of your profile on the SME Database, which will be classified according to industry/ product/ service and location, enabling buyers seeking specific goods to locate and contact you.
b) Access to information on tenders of goods / services required by other companies / customers.
c) Access to information on SMEs seeking business linkages.
d) Access to mentorship by successful entrepreneurs and business experts.
e) You can put up your proposals seeking linkages, partners, finance etc.
f) Access to BusinessLink networking events (at a nominal discounted fee to cover venue and meals)
g) You receive the monthly BusinessLink magazine full of insights, resources and opportunities for SMEs and entrepreneurs.
h) Access to business training workshops and business seminars at subsidized fees.
i) Your voice will be heard, by policymakers, local authorities, service providers, financiers (the idea will be to have special packages tailored specifically for the needs of SMEs, and the groups will be able to negotiate discounts etc)
j) First preference and subsidized prices at SME specialized product and service exhibitions.
k) You can propose ideas, actions etc and nominate members to the SME BusinessLink Executive committee, which will oversee policies and activities to safeguard and promote members interests.
l) Immediate notification by email of tenders targeting specifically SME firms in your sector.
The first networking meeting is set for 23 June 2011 in Harare, venue to be advised. Scheduled time is 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

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One Response to “BUSINESSLINK : LINKING SMES TO GET MORE AND BETTER BUSINESS”

  1. Eliot Dzeka Says:

    I am excited about the business linkange intiative and I want to be updated with what is happening on the ground although not able to attend meetings. I would be happy to have acces to any other materials you may have whilst I am trying to nevigate to find the current subscription fees.

    I would be happy to have access to information that will allow me to see activities taking place per industry type.

    Looking forward to hearh from you soon.

    Regards

    Eliot Dzeka

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