24 May 2004
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), together with a number of non-profit organisations, has launched an online database of black economic empowerment companies in the information and communications technology and electronics (ICT-E) sectors to help industry players identify suitable business and trade partners.
The database contains verified information on over 850 black economic empowerment (BEE) companies, with their profiles, contact numbers, type of services they provide and percentages of black ownership.
The database was developed by the DTI, the SA Electrotechnical Export Council (SAEEC), the Electronics Industry Federation, the Information Technology Association, and Information Industry SA.
SAEEC executive director Eileen Leopold said the database would help industry players to identify BEE companies in their different areas of expertise and to find suitable partners – as well as giving BEE companies a platform to showcase their companies and products locally and internationally, free of charge.
Leopold said they had conducted thorough research on all BEE companies to determine their share holdings to avoid listing “front” companies in the database.
“What we can verify is that the firms we have listed in the database are truly BEE companies, and that will go a long way to avoid the ‘fronting’ that we have seen, not only in this industry but in other industries as well.”
In terms of the definitions governing the database, “black people” includes “all previously disenfranchised and economically disadvantaged groups or individuals in South Africa, such as disabled people, members of the African, Chinese, Coloured (of mixed race) and Indian communities, and women.
The database ranks companies for black economic empowerment as follows:
- A “black company” is one that is 50.1% owned and managed by black people, where “ownership” refers to economic interest and “management” refers to executive directors.
- A “black empowered company” is one that is at least 25.1% owned and managed by black people.
- A “black influenced company” is one that is between 5% and 25% owned and managed by black people.
- An “engendered company” is one with at least 30% representation of black women within the black equity and management portion.
Israel Noko, a Canadian Business Development officer, described the database as “a tool that is forever evolving. Information is being updated as opposed to hiring a consultant. That makes our job easier in finding a potential partner for Canadian companies.”