DHL Express, the world’s leading international express services provider, recently launched its ‘Growing Beyond Borders’ entrepreneurial training program in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) – an innovative program specifically designed to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) understand the economic potential of international trade and the subsequent benefits to their businesses.
Since its launch, the program has been rolled out in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Madagascar and Nigeria. The first official session in South Africa will be held in Johannesburg this week. Several other markets in SSA will be launching the program before the end of March, including Uganda, Mauritius, Kenya, and Ghana.
John Lucas, Managing Director for DHL Express South Africa, says SMEs are considered the engines for growth in the country, and the SSA region. “If we can empower SMEs to seize international opportunities, this will further stimulate much needed economic growth. SMEs can have an advantage over larger, more established companies, as they are more agile and flexible to adapt to changing circumstances. Sustainable SME growth and performance also aid job creation, which is critical for the country.”
“Usually, SMEs start developing their businesses with the domestic market in mind, and often, they miss the opportunities that international trade represents. It’s actually easier than one thinks to trade internationally and our ‘Growing Beyond Borders’ program is aimed at dispelling the myths about international trade. Ultimately, we want to enable, encourage and empower SMEs to grow.”
The free of charge workshop explores areas around importing and exporting in new markets, provides guidance on how to find key geographical opportunities for specific products and services, as well as how to identify different marketing avenues and ways to build successful long-term relationships with their target customers.
Lucas explains that the ‘Growing Beyond Borders’ program is unique in that it was borne out of the same vein as the DHL Express Certified International Specialist (CIS) program – an internal cultural change program which has seen nearly 4,000 DHL employees in 51 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and 90,000 employees globally, receive comprehensive training on the fundamentals of international shipping.
“DHL has been shipping across the globe since 1969 and was set up in South Africa in 1978. We have drawn on our own entrepreneurial history and extensive experience with thousands of customers across the globe across all sectors to build the foundation of this program. We too, experienced the challenges that SMEs face when we started out, but with a pioneering spirit and our international focus, we have grown to become the world’s most international company. I truly believe that the future is bright for SMEs in South Africa,” concludes Lucas.