Good Morning Minister of Small Business Development,
My name is Zatosh, I am a Black Female entrepreneur in South Africa, struggling to get any type of business off the ground. We are stuck in a system that is “match-fixed” for the black woman to fail. This Women’s month, the silence must fall away as we bring this matters to light.
This is my personal story, I speak for myself.
Why is the small business procurement portal of the entire country monopolised by one company?
There is a company in South Africa, and everywhere you go – they are behind the majority of procurement portals aimed a small businesses. I will share the first couple of links from the first page of google.
Small Enterprise Development Agency – Where most small businesses start. If you try to register here, you are actually registering with this company, no one from SEDA even gets in touch with you. The first person that calls you will be from this company, leading you towards paying for a membership fee of about R3700
Durban Procure – same company, same story
Private Portal: https://www.ppcprocure.co.za/vas/sep.aspx
Another One: https://www.harmonyprocure.com/termsofuse.aspx
Last one: https://www.vodacom-tradedirect.co.za/
These are just searched from the first page of google, clearly one company has monopolised small business procurement in SA.
Why are SMEs paying R3700 for opportunities?
There are so many things wrong with this, as a small company just trying to get noticed where do I get this money? I have come across this procurement company before, and knew they offered me no value for the money they charged. I stumbled upon SEDA procurement portal, assumed “yes finally a government based portal” and blindly entered all my information there.
I was surprised when I got a call the next day from a nice lady offering me premium membership for R3700 and thought *%$*%*beep* its them again, how? As a small business, how must I afford R3700 to pay just to be listed on a database, where it is not even guaranteed that I will get business.
Ok, so we are paying for the service – Tender emails, what not
Laughing out loud: The tender emails you get, are short snippets with a link: get more information. As soon as you click on that link: Oh no, you need to be a premium member first to access this tender
But there are tons of websites online that you can just get these tenders from which don’t charge you a cent? Including the department that issued the tender:
And much more – I cannot cover all.
Why Minister of Small of Small Business Development Why?
Why as a new entrepreneur, trying to make it in this world? I cannot find a government run small business portal, that will not charge me just to be registered.
Not referring to CSD: I understand CSD is a database to save all supplier information, services. Can we not expand that in to a working portal for companies to get discovered, display their services, tenders to get advertised there, email notifications etc.
So this really surprised me
Just recently, I had a client who wanted me to provide some services to them. She told me she has been waiting for SEDA funding for over a year now, but that it is finally approved. She asked me to register with SEDA so that I would be included in the RFQ when it goes out.
I said to her “I am well ahead of you girl, I registered with SEDA months ago” *remember that registration discussed above?*
It turns out I was not registered with SEDA when an official from the SEDA office sent me “brand new forms” to complete.
So, here I am scratching my head wondering – If i did not register with SEDA, where is my information. Also why does SEDA have a procurement portal on their website called SEDAPROCURE, if I must still submit physical forms to SEDA offices just to be added to their procurement system – again, again?
When I asked this question to the nice lady from SEDA her response was: “we have our own system in the offices”