THE business of advertising invitations to tender has become more competitive with the launch of GetBiz, an e-procurement company that connects invitation issuers with potential suppliers.
The company, launched last month, provides a real-time service that tender issuers countrywide can use to upload invitations and applicants can use to access and submit bids and proposals through the GetBiz system from a cellphone, computer or any device that has an Internet connection.
GetBiz's founders and two major shareholders are former business journalists. They and their team of 15 employees collectively have skills in information technology, sales and marketing, graphic design, media and general business.
CEO Andile Ntingi said this week: "We've been working on this for over five years, just researching the concept. Accessing the [tender] information is not as easy as people think. If you can come up with a platform that can allow anyone to bid from the comfort of their home or their office, you've done half the job."
Last year the founders roped in Tenaka's Tribe to develop the website and Glyfik4 to oversee its design .
"I saw an opportunity because we've been looking at this market for a long time," Ntingi said, adding that the company also provided business news content .
"Big media houses have been missing the opportunity to produce content for business that is actionable. That kind of content is unhelpful if you are an ordinary entrepreneur."
For example, he said, if Standard Bank makes R10-million profit a year that news is relevant to management, staff, suppliers and shareholders.
"But if you're an ordinary business person you cannot act on that content. It's good-to-know content, but of little use to ordinary people. I've always been aware of this anomaly."
GetBiz's founders hope that the platform will broaden the access of suppliers to the domestic procurement market, which is estimated to be worth more than R1-trillion.
Using GetBiz, the tender issuer can search for suppliers by industry, region or black economic empowerment rating.
"This platform ends the debate in which people say they can't find black suppliers," Ntingi said.
So how does the company make money? Ntingi, who holds an honours degree in economics from Rhodes University, said GetBiz receives 20% of the cost of the tender documents. It also takes a 1.5% brokerage fee in the auction of assets, and subscription packages paid for by customers also supplement the income.
The company aims to break even next year.
"In the next five to 10 years we want the whole procurement market to move through GetBiz," Ntingi said.
Competitors such as Tenderscan and Leads 2 Business source the tender notices and deliver them electronically to subscribers.
According to GetBiz, as well as offering access to tenders across all industries, it provides real-time e-procurement auctions for buying and selling products, and a network to connect entrepreneurs to sources of funding and to businesses offering franchising opportunities.
Tendering is big business. Recently the Treasury appointed a chief procurement officer, Kenneth Brown, who will oversee the implementation of an e-procurement tendering platform to replace the old tendering system and, it is hoped, contribute to eliminating corruption.
Last month Brown's office issued an invitation for a service provider to help it implement global-standard procurement processes.
Ntingi said his company would bid for the work.
"We estimate that over one-third of the procurement spending in this country is done by the government."
GetBiz also offers a subscription-based service but allows tender notices and documents to be published free, and tender seekers to access the platform without charge.
Article by: Asha Speckman.
Article Source: Tmes Live