Competing against major players in the industry is a huge challenge for SMEs who face barriers in terms of access to funding and finding the right skills for their businesses.

The majority of skilled individuals are employed by the public sector and large enterprises in the private sector and, moreover, the supply of specific technical skills simply doesn’t begin to meet the demand.

Recognising this issue, George Masemola, business unit manager at Axiz, says the company has introduced an SME development programme, aimed at helping its smaller partners grow their businesses and compete with their enterprise counterparts.

“There is an opportunity for SMEs to succeed by providing services that their enterprise competitors are simply unable to do as efficiently or as cost-effectively,” he says. “But they need the skills to do this and, unfortunately, too often these skills are unaffordable for them. This is where Axiz comes in.

“We aim to develop our SME programme into a full ecosystem of our SME partners. To help them take their businesses to the next level, we offer upskilling, marketing and sales, as well as finance,” Masemola says.

“In addition, we offer them access to the market, meaning our SME partners can leverage our existing enterprise partners.”

One such SME that has recently been on-boarded on to the programme is Wirespeed, an entity that provides local and wide area networks, telephony solutions, video and audio conferencing, messaging and Internet access.

“Our experience lies in the designing, implementation, deployment, monitoring, troubleshooting and maintaining of complex convergent networks and we are well versed in next-generation network technologies,” says Jonathan Muvindi, founder and CEO of Wirespeed.

“Axiz has helped us tremendously. They have helped us attain our Cisco partnership, and paid for our salespeople to go through the necessary training with them.”

Moreover, he says, Axiz has given his company access to discounts when they purchase equipment from Cisco which helps them compete more effectively with the “big guys”.

“This has definitely given us an edge,” says Muvindi. “Usually, SMEs can never win on price, but this has levelled the playing fields for us. In addition, the skills and training we received have helped us compete on value and service, and enabled us to be more flexible and adaptable to meet our clients’ needs.”

Another way Axiz has assisted Wirespeed is by passing on certain smaller jobs to them.

“When work comes in, they contact us, and our professional team heads out and completes the job at hand,” Muvindi explains. “We are definitely maintaining a close relationship with Axiz. They have introduced us to all the different team leads within their business to ensure we have all the product training and assistance we need. We know they are only a phone call away.”

In terms of developing the business, Muvindi says Wirespeed attends all the sales enablement workshops that Axiz offers to the company free of charge. “We have definitely been given many opportunities,” he says. “Axiz invites us to all the events they host for the various products in their stable which enables us to network and build relationships with other industry players.”

“The end-to-end support Axiz has given us has undoubtedly given our business a boost and a competitive edge,” he adds.

“The key to competing successfully as a smaller player in the market is to stay focused on a niche, and not try to be too many things to too many people,” says Axiz’ Masemola. “Wirespeed has focused on developing its core expertise and hasn’t diluted its offering. Axiz is delighted to offer them support at every stage of their journey, to help them grow what they have so successfully established.”