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Western Cape Business 2022

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OVERVIEW Development finance and SMME support Craft designers are preparing for US markets The Cape Town US Consulate General office is sponsoring an initiative to help creative businesses approach the US market. More than 80 Western and Eastern Cape businesses were exposed to a week-long programme of information sharing and networking in 2021 when the Craft and Design Institute (CDI) partnered with Aid To Artisans (ATA) to roll out the e-Market Readiness Programme (eMRP). On the programme, entrepreneurs learn about trends and the requirements of the US market through direct engagement with industry experts and retail buyers. For 10 selected businesses there is a five-month Business Intensive process. Jehan Jones-Radgowski, Acting Public Affairs Officer at the US Consulate, says, “The Expanding to Export Market Access Programme will prepare South-Africanbased entrepreneurs in the creative sector to enter the US handmade retail market.” Among the participants were Kingsdale Emporio and Dimzique Jewellery. Two of the Western Cape’s universities, Stellenbosch and Cape Town, are among the first collaborators with the University Technology Fund which aims to commercialise innovations and inventions coming out of tertiary institutions. The UTF has financial clout as it is a part of the South African SME Fund, an offshoot of the CEO Initiative which brought together 50 major corporations, the Public Investment Corporation, the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Compensation Commission. Among the businesses receiving support from the SA SME Fund are Masisizane which helps black entrepreneurs buy petrol stations and Hyrax, a company which emerged from research done at the University of the Western Cape into which HIV-positive people were resistant to certain drugs. The National Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) has several programmes to assist SMMEs and cooperatives. The Small Enterprise Development Agency is an ONLINE RESOURCES Craft and Design Institute: SA SME Fund: Small Enterprise Development Agency: Small Enterprise Finance Agency: SECTOR INSIGHT University student’s bright ideas are getting business funding. Credit: Dimzique Jewellery agency of the DSBD and gives non-financial support to entrepreneurs through training, assistance with filling in forms, marketing and creating business plans. Seda runs a Rapid Incubator in partnership with the Centre for Entrepreneurship (CFE) at False Bay TVET College, Westlake Campus. Many startups find the cost of finding and hiring premises prohibitive. Flexible working spaces such as those offered by Workshop17 offer a solution. The company has sites in Paarl, the Gardens and at the Watershed at the V&A Waterfront. ■ WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2022 46

OVERVIEW Business Process Outsourcing BPO growth is bolstering employment. SECTOR INSIGHT Amazon added 3 000 employees in 2020. A 200-seat call centre opened in Paarden Island in 2021, further evidence of Cape Town’s attractiveness as a business process outsourcing venue. iContact BPO, which also has a centre in Johannesburg, is part of Alefbet Holdings Group, an international company with more than 1 000 full-time employees. The company’s CEO, Clinton Cohen, believes that South Africa offers speed to market, flexibility and professional delivery. Cohen gives an example of hiring 100 skilled agents in less than 100 hours to meet the exacting brief of a US-based automotive client. “There are few BPO sectors in the world that can provide this sort of agility and rapid scaling while maintaining quality and compliance requirements,” said Cohen. The BPO sector’s continued growth is good news for youth employment in the region and the country. According to McKinsey’s South Africa Big Five report, the BPO sector currently employs over 270 000 people in six cities, of which 65 000 serve international clients. This total could grow to over 775 000 jobs by 2030, with up to two-thirds of these servicing overseas markets. The UK makes up 61% of offshore business in South Africa, the US and Canada 18% and Australia 11%. In the course of 2020, Amazon increased its total South African recruitment to 7 000 with the addition of 3 000 new employees to service its North American and European markets. Significantly lower costs than European competitors and growth rates in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector that outstrip the global rate make the Western Cape an extremely competitive ONLINE RESOURCES Credit: iContact BPO Business Process enabling South Africa (BPeSA): Contact Centre Management Group: National Department of Trade, Industry and Competition: destination. According to the Everest Group Study (2018), Cape Town’s costs for contact centre work are between 20% and 30% lower than the costs in Eastern and Central Europe. South Africa’s BPO industry is growing twice as fast as the world’s and three times faster than India and the Philippines (Invest Cape Town). UK shop Asda and online retailer Amazon have large customer service centres in Cape Town. Other big brands include British Gas, IBM, KLM, Lufthansa, Mastercard and Microsoft. Global and local BPO investors with operations in Cape Town include TutorABC, CSC, Collinsons Group, Bloomberg, Shell, AskOsca, JTC Group, Wonga, SimplyTalk, Ambition 24 Hour Group and Buongiorno. Inbound customer service (55%), inbound sales (15%) and debt collection (13%) comprise the biggest subsectors of the BPO sector in the Cape (Wesgro). Greater Cape Town is home to three universities, a university of technology and two technical colleges. Other factors in favour of the area are the relatively neutral accents, good financial and telecommunications infrastructure and the time zone being the same or close to Europe’s. ■ 47 WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2022

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