Africa Aerospace & Defence 2016

Opportunities abound for emerging enterprises [AAD16D2]

15 September 2016

Emerging enterprises in the defence and technology sectors will have ample opportunities to showcase their capabilities at Africa’s largest defence show – AAD 2016.

The Africa Aerospace and Defence Exhibition 2016 is attracting global industry leaders such as Airbus, Thales, Saab and BAE Systems, but there is also ample space for local companies to showcase their capabilities to decision-makers.

“We are pulling out all the stops to ensure local emerging enterprises get ample exposure to wider audiences at AAD 2016,” says Kevin Wakeford, CEO of Armscor, of the five-day event, which takes place at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.

A special national pavilion is being hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry with exhibition space that has been made available at greatly reduced costs for SMMEs. Fifteen companies in the aerospace and defence industries have a prominent presence through financial and logistical support of the DTI, while six SMME companies are exhibiting under the auspices of Armscor.

The Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) supports eight companies in the province by offering them free space. The Agency and the Gautrain last month signed a partnership agreement with AAD for the joint marketing of the event, which is estimated to inject more than R800 million into the regional economy through the retail, transport and hospitality sectors.

The organising partners of AAD have been offering 16m2 of exhibition space to emerging enterprises at greatly reduced rates.

Thami Kubheka, the financial director of Kutleng Engineering Technologies, says his company is ready to generate business from the national and industry delegations of 30 countries who will visit the exhibition during the trade days from 14-16 September.

The Rivonia-based company specialises in software solutions in the advanced engineering and technology environments and has already worked with companies such as Denel to develop fire control systems on armoured vehicles.

“Defence technology is a strategic capability for South Africa and it is important that we have local companies that are able to offer these solutions,” he says. “It contributes to South Africa’s security and makes our country less dependent on foreign suppliers of technology.”

Kubheka is of the firm opinion that the skills and the capacity are already available in the country – but emerging companies need greater exposure to larger players in the defence industry and to be integrated into their supply chain networks.

This is why AAD is such a great opportunity. Enterprises such as Kutleng Engineering Technologies will gain exposure on the larger industry stage, make connections with other companies and establish networks that will lead to the growth of their businesses.

Wakeford says AAD is another platform for enterprise development and helps to link emerging and black-owned companies to the broader defence and aerospace environments.

“The bigger players will get the opportunity to see the skills and professionalism that are already available among emerging enterprises and, hopefully, this will lead to productive partnerships and the further transformation of the defence industry,” he says.

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