South Africa: Bridge International project

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Read more about this project: January 2014's South African Bootcamp, April 2014's South African visit to the UK and South African businesses 2014.

This is a five-year project to promote international trade between South Africa and the UK funded by ABSA (Barclays Bank in South Africa which forms part of Barclays PLC Global Group of companies) through their Enterprise Development fund.

Bridge International's purpose is to launch exciting ventures into new markets, achieving cross border trade that will positively impact participating businesses, the job market and ultimately South Africa's economy. South Africa has relatively few success stories of home-grown businesses that have transplanted successfully into foreign markets. Bridge International is designed to specifically address this by being a conduit that selects, supports and equips businesses with potential into making this transition. The ultimate objective is for the project to be seen by South African businesses as the programme in which to be involved in order to expand into international markets.

The first year pilot, which aimed to take a carefully selected group of South African entrepreneurs to the UK to help them find international trading opportunities, has recently been completed with great success and significant impact upon both the businesses and the participants themselves. Each of the businesses have returned to South Africa with either a contract or a relationship in place likely to deliver trading benefits in the near future.

Erika Smedy said:

We wouldn't have known where to start without all the help. We managed to get a distributor, which we would never have managed if we weren't here physically to meet them and show them. We wouldn't have made the connections the way we did.

Project overview