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IDZ also bring opportunities for SMMEs

Local smaller businesses are also starting to reap the benefits of the planned Saldanha industrial development zone (IDZ).

Civils 2000, a civil engineering and construction company that was awarded the tender to develop the infrastructure for the IDZ, recently held a three-week workshop with small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME).

Representatives from 22 West Coast-based businesses were given computer training, taught how to complete and understand tenders and how to manage their on-site cost control.

Kashiefa Beukes, acting chief executive officer of the Saldanha IDZ, says one of the IDZ’s aims is to connect sub-contractors, SMMEs and bigger companies such as Civils 2000. She says it also aims to create opportunities for local businesses; one of the criteria for awarding a tender is that 30% of goods purchased or services from local suppliers be used.

These 22 businesses were part of an initial 147 that showed interest in the project after a three-day roadshow by Civils 2000 representatives, held in conjunction with GrowNET.

Companies were then sifted according to certain criteria, such as their previous experience, compliancies and registration and whether or not they are locally-based.

“There are a nice mix of businesses who are part of the project, from up-and-coming to bigger contractors,” explains PJ Coetzer, Civils 2000 construction manager.

The course material for the workshop was based on the needs of SMMEs, as identified by the participants.

One of the participants, Alvona Williams from Saldanha who works for EDH Enterprise, says she now has a better understanding of the tender process.

“At times it was challenging to be away from work for 12 days, and I had to catch up before and after class,” she said. “But I have learned valuable information that I will go and share with my colleagues.”

Civils 2000 has also erected a SMME workstation at the premises in Platinum Street, outside Saldanha.

The facility has free Wi-Fi, internet, a copier and a telephone line to support the business owners. They can also use the facility to apply to tenders for other jobs. On Monday, each participant received a certificate for attending the workshop and each company received a laptop.

According to Coetzer, a meeting will be held with the 22 businesses to explain the tenders that will be made available by Civils 2000, for which they will be able to apply.

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