ECDC supported Exporters Excel at prestigious Eastern Cape Exporter of the Year awards
August 16, 2016: Two Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) supported exporters walked away with three merit awards at the 21st prestigious Eastern Cape Exporter of the Year Awards in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
Last year’s winner and beneficiary of ECDCs integrated export support programme Jendamark Automation scooped merits awards in the IDC Job Creation Award category and in the Best Exporter – Corporate – category for skills development and for their increased turnover and job creation respectively. Mend-A-Bath International received a merit award for entrepreneurial flair in the Best Exporter – small business category which recognises direct and indirect exporters with a turnover of up to R25 million.
The coveted 2016 Exporter of the Year Award went to SJM Flex SA who, in the judge’s opinion, achieved the most success in the period under review.
“This is an exciting achievement for Jendamark and Mend-A-Bath whom we have been privileged to work with. Mend-A-Bath is one of several Eastern Cape exporters whose products have been placed by ECDC on a permanent trade exhibition in the port city of Ningbo, China since 2013.
“The continued growth and development of the export sector in the Eastern Cape is an urgent priority which ECDC continues to help address through its integrated export support activities. The Eastern Cape Exporter of the Year Awards is an important element which encourages the growth of the export sector as well as growing the value of trade from the province. We are pleased that ECDC also came on board this year as the platinum sponsor of the event,” says ECDC head of market access Zodwa Kepeyi.
Addressing the 570 guests at the Boardwalk Convention Centre, Eastern Cape MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism Sakhumzi Somyo said the growing community of Eastern Cape exporters lies at the epicentre of the province’s trade promotion strategy.
“This growing community of export-oriented entrepreneurs plays a fundamental role in the realisation of government’s aim to increase the value of trade in the province as well as the number of exporters.
“I offer my heartfelt congratulations and gratitude to the winners and entrants who are drawn from various sectors of the Eastern Cape economy for their fortitude and resilience in the face of an challenging global economic climate. I also extend my sincere appreciation to those exporters throughout the Eastern Cape who have not entered the competition - they too play an increasingly pivotal role in improving the Eastern Cape’s standing as a growing and respectable export-oriented economy,” said Somyo.
Furthermore, accelerated export promotion activities are increasingly important considering that the Eastern Cape is a net importer of goods. The provincial economy trade deficit widened from R7.2 billion in 2014 to R11 billion in 2015, as imports grew by 18% exceeding exports which grew by 12% in 2015.
“These figures clearly point to a need to provide empowering export support mechanisms and incentives to local entrepreneurs and to those investigating the possibilities of the export market. In this regard, for example, ECDCs market access unit seeks to maximise the opportunities offered by various trade policies and to broaden trade within Africa,” explains Somyo.
Quintin Levey, chairperson of the Eastern Cape Exporters Club which hosts the awards congratulated all the winners which are:
SJM Flex Environmental award – This category is this year for exporters who are ISO 14001 accredited and who pursue excellence in environmental management.
IDC Job Creation award – This category is this year for exporters who have created the most sustainable jobs over the last year.
Best provider of services to exporters – This category is for service providers to the export industry, usually forwarding and clearing agents, shipping lines and agents, other forms of transport including courier, insurance agents, underwriters and financial services providers.
Best exporter – small business – This category is for direct and indirect exporters with export turnover up to R25 million.
Best exporter – medium enterprise – This category is for direct and indirect exporters with export turnover between R25 and R200 million.
Best exporter – corporate – This category is for direct and indirect exporters with export turnover greater than R200 million.
Best exporter – OEM – This category is for manufacturers of original equipment for the automotive industry.