Bernadette has had many years of hands-on experience in international trade. In her own business, she specialized in establishing complete turnkey projects to set up medical practitioners and in providing medical supplies and equipment to hospitals, clinics and pharmacies in countries throughout Africa. She has an extensive knowledge of import and export administration and of trade agreements with SADC, BRICS and COMESA countries.
Bernadette Zeiler was in the medical industry for 30 years and ran her own business for 20 years distributing medical and laboratory equipment into Africa. Bernadette joined Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2006, looking for an expansion plan for her business. She participated in a programme, “Access for Women” at JCCI sponsored by International Trade Centre and the Canadian Government. Through this programme and other programmes at JCCI, Bernadette travelled to 20 countries in Africa, Cuba, exhibiting at Arab Health in 2016, India and America. Her company secured major contracts with Ministries of Health and international donor organisations in Africa, supplying the complete turnkey project to hospitals and clinics.
Her company was also selected to participate in outward missions and exhibitions with the Deputy Trade Minister. Her company, BMZ Agencies, was selected as one of the finalists in 2009 and was awarded “Exporter of the Year” – export services in 2011 by JCCI and First National Bank.
In 2017, Bernadette was offered the position as Head : International Trade at JCCI. Her son runs the business on a full-time basis.
Bernadette’s responsibilities at JCCI include collaboration with all the High Commissioners and Ambassadors at the foreign Embassies to host workshops and inward and outgoing delegations. She also works very closely with the various Government Departments, European Union, GIZ German Co-operation and other international organisations.
Bernadette also oversees the Global Business Export Accelerator, a project in partnership with GIZ German Co-operation. The focus of the project is to equip Black SME’s in the complete export cycle. Export is vital to the survival of businesses as this will boost the economy and create employment.
JCCI played a vital role in equipping Bernadette with all the export skills and knowledge through various programmes and access to markets.