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Export Development Programme




Seda’s Export Development Programme aims to develop and produce export-ready small enterprises that are globally competitive and able to grow markets both locally and internationally. The programme is designed to help small enterprises in South Africa to acquire and apply practical skills in developing their export capabilities.




The Export programme derives its objective from the National Small Business Act article 10(1)(v) and the Seda Strategic objective which states:


“Seda must facilitate international and national market access for products and services of small enterprises” and “To enhance the competitiveness and capabilities of Small Enterprises through co-ordinated, programme and projects.”


The goal of the export programme is to ensure that the small enterprise sector grows and increase its access to export opportunities. The objectives of the Export Development Programme are as follows:

  • To source and distribute export market information and clients data to Seda operations;
  • To establish and strengthen relationships with relevant stakeholders to improve access to global markets;
  • To promote export ready small enterprises through the co-ordination of their participation in local and international events and other relevant export activities; and
  • To provide follow up support in terms of post event intervention (mentorship programme)




The programme consists of the following components:


2.1 Export-readiness assessment


The Export diagnostic assessment is a process conducted on interested enterprise to ascertain the stage of development that the client is currently within its current business in terms of export readiness, capacity and capability.

This will identify gaps in various areas of the business in terms of business operations, production, product and quality standards and export capacity. Facilitates the provision of relevant and responsive interventions to the assessed enterprises to enhance their export potential and thus improve their export capability. It is therefore important for this

activity to be conducted in terms of development to ensure the growth of enterprises into the export market.


2.2 Training


Various trainings are offered to improve client capabilities, namely: Export awareness, Export orientation course, Pre/Post exhibition, Guide to trading into Africa and Sector specific training.


The purpose of the Export Orientation Course is to introduce export as a relevant market opportunity to small enterprises through a process of immediate application of learning’s to the enterprise’s business and current circumstances. It is a self-study course with support being provided by experienced international trade consultants with the outcome being a basic export marketing plan. Participants in this course are normally classified as potential or emerging exporters


Export Awareness Seminars are aimed at introducing export as a concept to potential exporters and also to provide guidance to requirements and possible support that exists. It targets between 20 and 35 enterprises per seminar.


Types of Seminars

  • Export Information Workshops- Nationally, focusing on:
    • Opportunities and challenges in exporting and support available to small exporters.
    • Information sharing session targeting export stakeholders like service providers, SMMEs, Provincial Trade and investment agencies and Seda branches.
  • Doing Business in Africa Workshops / BRICS
    • Assist small exporters on how to access markets in Africa and BRICS countries.


2.3 Business development support


Most potential exporters will require developmental assistance from Seda to become export ready and existing exporters to access local and international markets.

Market access exposure and success therein could be a huge challenge to a small enterprise receiving several queries and orders during or from an exhibition, trade fair or web query. It is therefore becoming important that the necessary follow-up or handholding support is provided.

Assistance is provided to potential and existing exporters to improve on identified areas of weakness with specific focus on the following:

- Product development;

- Productivity improvement;

- Quality management;

- Marketing plan;

- Access to incentives;

- Business Development;

- Export promotion;

- Mentorship and

- Post intervention support


2.4 Promotional support


The Export Development Unit will identify local and international promotional opportunities where potential exporters can test their newly acquired skills. The main focus is on exhibition opportunities at major trade shows within South Africa, as well as on dti trade missions. Enterprises are presented with market access opportunities through new market exposure. Seda ensures that clients are assisted and funded through the dti incentives schemes.


Suitability for programme (Self check)


In addition to export readiness assessment that is conducted by the branches, the following criteria should serve as a checklist to determine suitability of enterprises to partake in the Export Development Programme:


  • Product/Service should have a niche or competitive edge;
  • Company should be registered with registrar of companies (CIPC);
  • Be in possession of a valid Tax Clearance Certificate;
  • Enterprise should at least have a foot print in the local market;
  • A market match should exist for the product/service;
  • Enterprise must be committed to developing an export market;
  • Enterprise should have or have access to finance;
  • Enterprise should have operational capacity to service additional markets.
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