More Info About Us
Africa Business Connect or ABCONN, consists of a team of people and businesses who are passionate about Africa, Business and Networking. Africa Business Connect is therefore a “convergence” of these passions, to establish a Network of businesses within a proper Business Chamber context and to promote and grow African business purely Online.
You do not have to leave your office chair to be able to connect to any Africa business partners or even business opportunities. You can stay in your office and attend online networking events, such as e-Talks and Webinars. Successful businesses can “give back” by giving other businesses advice or acting as a mentor for upcoming or start-up businesses. There may even be new business opportunities for you.
Several groundbreaking principles were also established with the development of ABCONN. Look at it as the first “real” Social Network for businesses. ABCONN is the first online business-to-business platform. It is the first, purely online Chamber of Commerce. ABCONN is the fastest growing (African focused) online business platform. Our strategic plans are filled with many more “firsts”… watch this space in the coming months.
Africa, the final business frontier, is our main driver
Africa’s growth potential is well understood world-wide, with 11 of the World Top 30 ”Real GDP Growth” countries on our continent. By 2035, Africa will have the world’s largest workforce and US$2.6 trillion of revenue is expected from Africa, by 2020 already. Large multinational companies are actively entering Africa, however the question begs why medium and smaller sized companies are not queuing to find business partners in Africa. Doing business in Africa is associated with an unfortunate reality, with too many stories regarding corruption, scams and unscrupulous business practices. How can any serious business then venture into the lucrative and growing African market with confidence? To do business in Africa, even the large multinationals rely on local business partners to promote and support their products and services. You therefore want to find credible business partners in Africa, but the challenge remains where to look. Many companies have used social media in an attempt to establish the right connections, with mixed results. ABCONN can assist with connecting you to credible African businesses.
A Chamber of Commerce, provides serious, like-minded business people an opportunity to network.
Solid business relationships are established at such networking events. It does not stop here, your local Chamber also provides a better collective position with access to the corridors of power, whether local or national government. National bodies to which your local Chamber is affiliated, can further business interests internationally. Research has proven that even traditional Chambers of Commerce is a more cost-effective method to generate new business than traditional PR and even Advertising. Finding business opportunities and acting upon those is therefore a direct result of the value, which a Chamber of Commerce brings to your business. Business experience has proven that most serious, credible businesses belong to some form of Association or Chamber. There are many benefits to Chamber of Commerce membership. If you do not currently belong to your local Chamber of Commerce, we strongly suggest that you join. You can view a list of Chambers here. We also provide additional benefits to our members when they can prove their membership status with their local Chamber of Commerce.
An Online Network helps people to connect with other people
We have searched far and beyond, but were unable to find an online network, which connects businesses with other businesses. Ultimately it is still about people doing business with people, but it is not about individuals only. Ideally you want to connect the people in your business with the people in another business to really be successful. The growth in the number of Internet users has been exponential, and internet users love Social Media.
Recent statistics have shown that 93% of marketers use Social Media for business. A staggering 70% of “brands” have a presence on Social Media. There are however many dangers when using Social Media to connect to potential business partners. You never know who is really on the other side of an e-mail, a social media post, or even a Skype IM. This is one of our reasons why we encourage the African Business Connect members to join their local Chamber of Commerce. It brings with it a sense of credibility. Members who do not belong to a verified Chamber of Commerce, have limited abilities within our platform. ABCON can therefore assist you to connect with credible and verified business partners in Africa.
ABCONN Founder Organisations
An initiative such as ABCONN is not possible without the vision of an organization such as the AHI. The AHI have been living their mission of “creating sustainable prosperity” for more than 50 years already. Over this period, the AHI constantly reinvented itself to adapt to the prevailing business environment. The AHI continuously focus on promoting the interests of their members at National and International levels. The AHI currently represents over 130 Chambers of Commerce in South Africa with the number of total members exceeding 5000. The AHI is once again reinventing the business landscape with the ABCONN initiative, by creating growth opportunities, opening up dialogue and ultimately being able to showcase African (not only South African) businesses on the international stage. With the experience of the AHI, the Chambers associated with the AHI, and the business members within these Chambers, ABCON is well positioned, and possess the experience, to provide new members with a professional online Chamber of Commerce experience.
Worldwide, traditional Chambers of commerce are continuously facing the same question from their members: “What value does Chamber membership bring to my business?” There may be multiple reasons for this question, and therefore multiple answers exist. One of the ways to revitalize a Chamber or Association is to marry the traditional services the Chamber provides, with a more modern approach. Many business are more actively involved in online communities rather that the traditional networking events. The traditional Chamber events and services are still relevant and cannot be replaced by only online activities. However, members may well be looking for opportunities online, while an opportunity might be with another member within the same Chamber (who may well also be online somewhere on the web).
The Chamber can facilitate online collaboration by embracing technology, and in that way facilitate new ways of collaboration between its own members (online AND in the real world), but also extend that to beyond their local Chamber. This was more difficult when considering only traditional methods, but with the right technology it becomes extremely easy to facilitate such collaboration online.
The chamber needs to merely find a suitable platform to leap into this century. Ascendance (Pty) Ltd (www.ascendance.co.za) is the appointed technology partner who helped the AHI in finding the appropriate solution for such a platform. The platform itself, ChamberMaster, was developed by MicroNet Inc, a Minnesota (US) based corporation, and represented in Africa by Ascendance (Pty) Ltd.
The ABCONN People
Theo van Wyk – Africa Business Connect: Executive Director
Hardus Hurter – Africa Business Connect: Executive Director
Leandre du Plessis – Project Manager
Sheridan Malan – Admin Manager
David Boswel – ChamberMaster Product Manager
Fanie du Plessis – Business Development Manager
Ingrid von Stein – Communications and Media Relations Manager
Stephan Hurter – Social and Digital Marketing Manager
Stefan Koekemoer – Technical Manager
Africa Business Connect Non-Executive Directors
Ernest Messina – CEO AHI
Deon Huysamer – CEO Huysamer Capital Investments
Theo Vorster – CEO Galileo Capital
Christo Botes – Executive Director: Business Partners Limited
Hennie Hurter – Non-Executive Director: Ascendance