British companies seek SA business opportunities

JOHANNESBURG (02/02/2004) - "There are still opportunities for U.K. companies to develop long-term business partnerships in SA," says Mark Eaton, of the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, who will be leading a British trade mission to South Africa (SA) from February 16 to 20.

The Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber has been organizing trade missions to SA for over a decade, and Eaton -- no stranger to the country himself -- outlines the potential advantages for U.K. companies: "SA also acts as a gateway to the southern African market, but most of this mission's delegates will be concentrating solely on SA."

Accompanying Mark Eaton will be Ajay Desai, an international trade advisor at the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber, with responsibility for promoting the ICT sector, which is well represented on the mission. He has joined the mission specifically to meet technology-related businesses wishing to trade with the U.K.

Using Linux as an operating system, mission participant, TWF Internet Ltd., says it has written a software package that connects networks of PCs to the Internet simply and cheaply. Its InterLinx program is claimed to provide a secure, reliable interface between a corporate LAN and the Internet. It encompasses a firewall, VPN, IPSEC or PPTP, content filtering, site blocking, e-mail for everyone, and Web-based mail.

According to TWF, the interface runs under any Web browser and the e-mail can be accessed using any e-mail client. The company is looking for a local software distribution company to become a sales partner.

Lindengrove Consultants Ltd. will promote its Anaconda firewall security appliance. This is a box that protects computers from hackers, security flaws and viruses. According to the company, the firewall has a lot of functionality, and, as it is standards-based, functions can be installed onto the same device.

Advanced PayPoint Solutions specializes in the delivery of electronic point-of-sale (EpoS) software in partnership with retailers, resellers VARs and software vendors. The company already has links to Pastel Accounts, Sage, Pegasus and Exchequer.

Other participating companies range from Harvie Tyres Ltd. -- which manufactures, imports and packs over 4,000 products for the automotive industry, principally wheel and tire equipment and tire consumables -- to Dantec Dynamics AS -- a maker of flexible, composite hose for the bulk transfer of liquids in the petrochemical industry, looking for an SA distributor -- and Evac+Chair International, which manufactures a safety chair to assist in the evacuation of the disabled, and those with impaired mobility, from multi-story buildings in the case of a fire, earthquake, false alarm, smoke, faulty elevator, bomb alert or fire drill.

On level surfaces, the Evac+Chair behaves like a normal pushchair, but, on stairways, its ski-like structure enables it to slide smoothly down the stairway. The company also produces a range of patient and neo-natal transportation stretchers under the brand name Paraid.

Also represented is Business Link North & Western Lancashire, a business advice and support center, which is working closely with three of the mission companies from its region of North West England: Appropriate Training, Harvie Tyres, and Gannon Oils.

Business Link is particularly interested in investigating the impact of black empowerment companies in SA, and their effect upon British companies trading there. The mission will visit Johannesburg and Cape Town.

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