South Africa: A Trade Haven? National Minority Business Council Develops Market-Entry Program for Minorities

By Reynolds, Rhonda | Black Enterprise, February 1995 | Go to article overview

South Africa: A Trade Haven? National Minority Business Council Develops Market-Entry Program for Minorities


Reynolds, Rhonda, Black Enterprise


President Nelson Mandela's ticker-tape parades are over. Now, many African-American entrepreneurs are jetting off to Johannesburg to sign international trade deals, capitalizing on the new democracy.

According to John F. Robinson, South Africa "has been identified as one of the world's top ten emerging markets." Robinson is president and CEO of the National Minority Business Council in New York.

Building relationships, mending misunderstandings and sensitizing blacks, in both America and South Africa, to each other's mind-sets is a major NMBC mission. In fact, the NMBC has developed a strategic program for minority- and women-owned enterprises interested in establishing a beachhead in the South African market. The NMBC program is funded with a $50,000 Global Market Export Service contract by the New York State Department of Economic Development. Meanwhile, the NMBC is matching up South African companies with American partners, developing a co-operative in South Africa to facilitate trade opportunities in the NMBC's absence and working with local small business assistance centers.

MATCHMAKER, MATCHMAKER

"Americans are flocking to South Africa," commented Kathryn Leary, managing director of NMBC's International Trade Program, at a recent Made in USA Southern Africa Trade Expo. At the expo, she lobbied for NMBC member companies and conducted a study of the business potential for their products and services.

Robinson identified the following areas as potential profit makers: Construction, computer software/ hardware, business consulting, public relations and marketing.

According to the NMBC, the average South African company reports $150,000 to $200,000 in revenues. These South African firms, in turn, are seeking American partners with revenues of at least $250,000 and two to three staffers. …

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