A delegation of 15 black US suppliers to multinational DaimlerChrysler recently arrived in South Africa to try and establish business relations with local companies.

A delegation of 15 black US suppliers to multinational DaimlerChrysler recently arrived in South Africa to try and establish business relations with local companies.

The group plans to meet with 60 local businesses, to advise black businesspeople how to address some of the challenges facing them.

Harriet Michel, president of the US-based National Minority Supplier Development Council (a co-sponsor of the delegation), said black-owned South African and US businesses faced similar challenges. She said it was difficult for both groups to get access to capital and garner enough clout for a corporate account.

Michel said this was changing as more companies were looking at minorities as a consumer base in the US. She added that the council's 15 000 members did R496-billion worth of business with larger US companies, of which R18,6-billion was with DaimlerChrysler.

Michel added that while minority-owned and -managed component companies in the US faced many challenges, they could be successful in a market where there was an established relationship with competing suppliers.

On a positive note, the delegation's members felt that although they had been in South Africa only for a short time, they were impressed with what they had seen thus far.