Proudly placing South African business on the global map
SAVANT, the government-endorsed, industry-led vanguard of the local information and communications technology and electronics (ICTE) sector, believes local businesses can benefit from the level of association and co-operation that exists between it and the Proudly South African campaign, a founder partner.
Sar'e Grobler, project manager: ICT and electronics division, Trade and Investment South Africa, the DTI, points out the synergy between the two organisations and says businesses have to come to the party to put themselves in line to benefit.
"SAVANT and The Proudly South African Campaign were both started because of an obvious need to bolster local industry and related products and services. Aside from generating awareness and promoting participation to increase benefits, the larger aim is to encourage economic growth and job creation. From an ICTE perspective, it certainly helps to have Proudly South African as a founder partner and member of SAVANT because people recognise the branding and are keen to be involved, which, in turn, fits in well with our marketing strategy," says Grobler.
"The ICTE sector has traditionally been fragmented and for some time there has been a need to unify trade and industry representatives with organisations as well as companies. Our goal is to create a sustainable and credible representative force that has the necessary infrastructure, resources, skills and knowledge base to link local players with overseas counterparts and help maintain these channels in order to gain the maximum business and trade opportunities. This is a process that involves the input of many stakeholders," she adds.
While the Proudly South African campaign continues to make inroads into the collective South African corporate psyche, SAVANT is now working within the second phase of its development, characterised by online business promotion as well as communication with international businesses and industry representative bodies.
"We have entered a highly strategic part of development. Our main focus now is to generate leads through international co-operation and increased awareness. The run up to this stage saw SAVANT creating understanding and the means to participate with a focus on local buy-in. With the support we have received thus far, as well as the government endorsement we have both at national and provincial level, our intention is to significantly raise the profile of the initiative and its participants on a global scale. There is a great deal of excitement at the moment and so far the logistics look solid," says Grobler.
Proudly South African Chief Executive Martin Feinstein agrees.
"Proudly South African supports SAVANT because we believe that it is important to identify, brand and promote the South African IT industry as South African. SA has the knowledge capital, innovative thinking and IT infrastructure to compete in a number of areas in the global arena, particularly in software development, call centre services and the manufacture of certain components. In terms of our core mission, which is the protection and creation of South African jobs through the promotion of locally made products, the IT industry has great potential," says Feinstein.
"During Proudly South African Week we encourage all IT companies that are part of the campaign to promote the campaign's objectives. We also strongly encourage South African public and private sector organisations to think carefully about their procurement decisions - and, wherever possible, support locally made products and services," he concludes.