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Trade fairs powerful tools for business growth

Trade exhibitions and shows are excellent and powerful tools for networking and business promotional purposes, particularly small and medium enterprises.

This was said by Bank Windhoek’s head of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), financial and data analytics, Bianca Janse van Vuuren, after the financial institution sponsored two budding entrepreneurs through the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), to attend Africa’s Big 7 (AB7) Trade Exhibition.

The event took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 18 to 20 June.

Janse van Vuuren said the participating Namibian entrepreneurs had a memorable and productive business experience at the trade exhibition, which drew more than 170 exhibitors, with nearly 5 000 visitors from 25 countries.

Bank Windhoek sponsored N$100 000 towards the NIPDB’s Know2Grow High Potential Pool (K2G HPP), a programme to assist micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with significant export potential in scaling their operations.

The two entrepreneurs selected to participate in the exhibition, Shiwomeho Kalla, the owner of Shiwa’s Bakery, and Erikson Malwa of Talamo Food Namibia, say the event was more than an eye-opener.

Kalla says the exhibition offered her company a platform for networking.

“We got to speak to industry experts and learned new techniques,” she says.

“It was an opportunity to expose our brand and take it to new markets. It also allowed us to tap into everybody’s creativity.”

Malwa, who specialises in food processing, says he was happy to be part of the initiative, because the event had various food manufacturers and suppliers at one venue.

He says engaging with them was productive because it gave him a different business perspective, especially on the Namibian market.
“It was an eye-opener because we now have access to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) market,” he says.

Janse van Vuuren said: “As connectors of positive change, we (Bank Windhoek) are happy to have made it possible for Namibian entrepreneurs to represent the country internationally.”

Kalla and Malwa are Bank Windhoek SME customers.

Africa’s Big 7 Trade Exhibition connects entrepreneurs directly with African buyers. This enables them to source products, develop new partnerships and conclude export and import deals.

“It was amazing to see how much passion bakers and other food traders have for their business. We are inspired to go out there and reinvent, innovate, and do much better to take our brand forward,” Kalla says.

Malwa says his company exchanged products, ideas and technology to improve their business.

“I have leads I am going to follow up, and you will see the change in Talamo Foods during the next two to three years,” he says.
The next AB7 exhibition will take place from 11 to 13 June 2024, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The African food and beverage suppliers use Africa’s Big 7 exhibition to launch new products, promote and sell to key decision-makers and buyers, build long-lasting relationships, and structure import and export deals.

The exhibition is the continent’s largest annual meeting place for the food and beverage industry.

Meanwhile, the world celebrated International MSME Day on Tuesday.

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly designated 27 June as MSME Day to raise awareness of the contributions MSMEs make to the achievement of the UN sustainable development goals.

According to UN data, MSMEs account for 90% of businesses, 60% to 70% of employment, and 50% of gross domestic product worldwide.
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