By Daniel Chigundu
SMALL To Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Cooperatives Development minister Sithembiso Nyoni has urged small business in the country to take advantage of exhibitions to market their products and services.
According to the FinScope MSMEs 2012 Zimbabwe Survey, the country has about 3.5 million SMEs operating in various sectors of the economy and majority of them have been failing to get markets for their products.
In a speech read on her behalf on the sidelines of a business walkathon organised by the SMEs International Expo, Minister Nyoni said exhibitions are platforms created for businesses to market their wares and to interact with possible suppliers and buyers.
“Exhibitions play a pivotal role, in the development of MSMEs as they provide a platform for SMEs to showcase their products and services to the market, facilitate networks among entrepreneurs as well as opportunities for creating linkages with big companies.
“They also avail opportunities for exhibitors to benchmark their products with those of competitors which helps in improving in the quality of products produced.
“As a ministry we welcome initiatives by SMEs like what SMEs International Expo has been doing for the past 5 years, where we have witnessed phenomenal growth in the number of local and foreign exhibitors participating at the expo.
“I would like to urge you all to participate at this year’s edition of the SMEs International Expo,” Nyoni said.
Speaking at the same occasion Sports and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane urged SMEs to consider investing in sports adding that there are many opportunities waiting to be tapped.
The Sports minister said sports are an economic driver of note and that it was high time for the nation to ensure that sport is robust enough to make a meaningful contribution to the economy.
Minister Hlongwane added that there is need to adopt new ways of doing business in sport and that he is convinced that investment is waiting in the wings only if we strengthen our governance systems starting with the clubs because they are the heartbeat of national association.
In an interview, SMEs International Expo managing director Delight Makotose said plans for the 2016 edition of the Expo are moving according to plan and that they are now at an advanced stage.
Makotose also revealed that they have been impressed by the level of bookings from both foreign and local exhibitors.
The 6th edition of the SMEs International Expo is scheduled for 26th to 29th of October at the Rainbow Towers Hotel and will be running under the theme “Enhancing investment in SMEs to unlock value and new markets beyond borders”.
The Expo started in 2011 and has been growing steadily both in quality and in the number of exhibitors and has been carved into the country’s calendar of important events.