By Natalie Chiwomadzi
SMEs International Expo managing director Delight Makotose says preparations for the 9th edition of the Expo are on course despite various challenges being faced in the economy.
The Expo started in October 2011 with a view to give SMEs in the country and corporates an opportunity to interact and do business and possible forge partnerships.
According to the FinScope MSME Zimbabwe Survey 2012, there are about 3, 5 million SMEs operating in Zimbabwe and many of them face challenges that range from lack of access to markets.
And this Expo was created with a view to filling that gap and various SMEs have benefited greatly through market linkages.
Speaking during an interview with this publication, Makotose said preparations have gathered momentum and they are currently in engagement with various potential exhibitors.
“We are up to speed, actually the preparations have gathered momentum and all hands are on deck to have a successful expo.
“There have been engagements with the SMEs and the business community,” he said.
This year’s expo will be running under the theme “Turnaround, Restructure, Transformation for SMEs Growth in the Digital Economy” and Makotose said there will be an event later on in the year to officially launch it.
The Expo managing director revealed that this year they are looking at having more participation from youth entrepreneurs a development which has seen them coming up with innovation hubs in their systems.
In terms of exhibitors this year Makotose said they plan on sending positive vibes in-order to receive a large number as the Expo is a platform that gives them the opportunity to showcase their products and services as well as interacting with their potential customers.
“We are expecting an increased number of international exhibitors compared from the previous editions owing to our engagements with embassies and some civil society organisation in the country who work with SMEs.
“With regards to local exhibitors we are expecting to retain most of our traditional exhibitors and we look forward to gaining some new ones,” he said.
Makotose also revealed that they have approached various embassies in Zimbabwe and some countries in the SADC region to spread the message to organisations and companies in their countries to come and exhibit at the Expo.
In past editions, the Expo has worked with such embassies as Indonesia, India, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and the Netherlands among many others.