Competing against the major players is a huge challenge for small-medium micro enterprises (SMMEs), who face barriers in terms of access funding and finding the right skills for their businesses.
The majority of skilled individuals are employed by the public sector and large enterprises in the private sector, and moreover, the supply of specific technical skills simply doesn’t begin to meet the demand.
Recognising this issue, George Masemola, Business Unit Manager at Axiz, SA’s leading value-added ICT distributor, said Axiz has introduced an SMME development programme, aimed at helping its smaller partners grow their businesses and compete with their enterprise counterparts.
“There is an opportunity for SMMEs to succeed by providing services that their enterprise competitors are simply unable to do as efficiently or as cost-effectively,” he adds. “But they need the skills to do this, and unfortunately, too often these skills are unaffordable for them, and this is where Axiz comes in.
“We aim to develop our SMME programme into a full ecosystem of our SMME partners. To help them take their businesses to the next level, we offer upskilling, marketing and sales, as well as finance,” Masemola explains.
“In addition, we offer them access to the market, meaning our SMME partners can leverage our existing enterprise partners.”
One such SMME that has recently been on-boarded onto the Axiz SMME Development Programme is Wirespeed, an entity that provides local and wide area networks, telephony solutions, video and audio conferencing, messaging and Internet access.
“Our experience lies in the designing, implementation, deployment, monitoring, troubleshooting and maintaining of complex convergent networks and we are well versed in next-generation network technologies,” says Jonathan Muvindi, founder and CEO of wirespeed.
“Axiz has helped us tremendously. They have helped us attain our Cisco partnership, and paid for our salespeople to go through the necessary training with the networking giant.”
Moreover, he says Axiz has given his company access to discounts when they purchase equipment from Cisco which helps them compete more effectively with the ‘big guys’. “This has definitely given us an edge. Usually, SMMEs can never win on price, but this has levelled the playing fields for us. In addition, the skills and training we received have helped us compete on value and service, and enabled us to be more flexible and adaptable to meet our clients’ needs.”
Another way Axiz has assisted Wirespeed is by passing on certain smaller jobs to them. “When work comes in, they contact us, and our professional team heads out and completes the job at hand. We are definitely maintaining a close relationship with Axiz. They have introduced us to all the different team leads within their business, to ensure we have all the product training and assistance we need. We know they are only a phone call away.”
In terms of developing the business, Muvindi says Wirespeed attends all the sales enablement workshops that Axiz offers to the company free of charge. “We have definitely been given many opportunities. Axiz invites us to all the events they host for the various products in their stable, which enables us to network and build relationships with other industry players.”
“The end-to-end support Axiz has given us, has undoubtedly given our business a boost, and a competitive edge,” adds Muvindi.
“The key to competing successfully as a smaller player in the market is to stay focused on a niche, and not try to be too many things to too many people. Wirespeed has focussed on developing its core expertise and hasn’t diluted its offering. Axiz is delighted to offer them support at every stage of their journey, to help them grow what they have so successfully established,” adds Masemola.
He says Axiz is extremely proud to be part of this programme, which is in line with what the government is trying to achieve in terms of developing the SMME sector, particular SITA, who already has a number of special programmes geared towards SMME development in place.
“Through our partnerships with OEMs, Axiz has begun a true journey for SMME development,” Masemola concludes.