Soft Landing Platform SA – linking Dutch SME’s with local markets and entrepreneurs

Annette Willemse -- Tue, 12/01/2015 - 16:43

Soft Landing Platform SA – linking Dutch SME’s with local markets and entrepreneurs

In another first for the North-West University (NWU), the Vaal Triangle Campus will join forces with the Netherlands to constitute the Soft Landing Platform South Africa.


The Soft Landing Platform South Africa is an initiative of Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO), together with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, CINOP Global and the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal).

The project has been established to support and enable Dutch Small Medium Enterprises (SME’s) to explore and do business in South Africa. Through this project Dutch companies are offered a unique opportunity to “soft land” for a trial period in the South African market.  According to Prof Herman van der Merwe, the South African Project Supervisor and the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology, the platform furthermore provides meaningful contacts, facilities and services in an accessible way to Dutch enterprises that want to look into South Africa. Next to that, the Platform enables Dutch enterprises to get in touch with local business suppliers, partners, customers, knowledge institutes and network organisations. The Platform will also support enterprises by delivering market research, regulatory advice and business development.

The Soft Landing Platform has been established with the greater vision to build a sustainable and viable relationship between Dutch companies and entrepreneurs and the South African market,” explains Prof Van der Merwe and adds that as a member of the BRICS countries, South Africa has an important role to play within the greater economy of the continent. Professor Van der Merwe is of the opinion that sectors such as clean energy, water, agriculture, ICT, transport and logistics, raw materials and healthcare are considered to be critical sectors influencing the South African economy and will henceforth remain key focus areas with regards to the Soft Landing Platform.

International collaboration

The collaboration sees the NWU Vaal involved in four major aspects, namely: tailor-made market research, local business networking and development, regulatory support and the so-called soft landing.

Several staff members involved with the Campus’s bHive EDC (Enterprise Development Centre) – as well as the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology, will form part of the South African project team. Prof Herman van der Merwe together with his Dutch counterpart, Mr Hans Maltha (Managing Consultant at CINOP Global) will spearhead the project.  They will serve as Supervisor: South Africa and Supervisor: Netherlands respectively.

Prof Herman van der Merwe Mr Hans Maltha