By Daniel Chigundu
ORGANISERS of the annual SMEs International Expo have indicated that preparation for the 2017 edition scheduled for October 18-21 at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare, is going according to plan.
The expo which started in 2011 has been growing steadily in quality and quantity of exhibitors, which has seen it attracting some interest from Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya and South Africa, among others.
Expo managing director Delight Makotose told The Business Connect in an interview that provisional figures are reflecting a sharp growth from the previous edition, both in terms of local and foreign exhibitors.
“As you are aware, we are celebrating seven years of existence since our inception in 2011 and your support has ensured we become stronger each passing year. From our humble and inaugural expo at the Show grounds with handful exhibitors we have steadily grown the exhibition as evidenced by last year’s numbers where over 200 exhibitors took part. We expect a further increase this year.
“The increase is not only quantitatively but qualitatively while participation by foreign firms also gives us confidence and the belief that our brand has mutated into something big and unstoppable. This year we are expecting a formidable participation from SADC countries, West Africa (Senegal and Ghana) and as it stands we are expecting a 30 member business delegation from Russia, 20 from South Africa and we have others coming from Malaysia.
“Equally our theme this year “Adhering to Good Corporate Governance and Standards for Global competitiveness” underscores the need for MSMEs to build robust governance system regardless of the size of the business in order to lay the foundation for future growth. The theme also comes at a time when the government is working towards promoting good corporate governance in both public and private enterprises,” he said.
Makotose also revealed that more sponsors have also come on board and that they have also retained sponsors from the previous editions, adding that this is an indicator to show that corporates are getting confidence with the brand.
According to the expo organisers, a lot of events have been lined-up as a precursor to the main event. Some of the events include walkathon and road-show.
The managing director said they have also used the feedback from exhibitors and previous editions as stepping stones in organising the 2017 edition to ensure there is value.
“The expo is not just about exhibiting but making business also, so we are going to have Business to Business meetings in various sectors, and we are planning on exchange programs for SMEs especially with countries that have a similar setup where SMEs are contributing significantly to the economy and gross domestic product (GDP) for example in India, China and Turkey,” he said.
There will also be a business conference on 19th of October, the second day of the conference, where top speakers are drawn from various companies and institutions, both locally and internationally will speak on various topics that have to do with business operations.
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