EXPO: Entrepreneurs Get the Inside Track
Recent Gauteng Business News
The Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo, presented by Thebe Exhibitions and Projects and The Eskom Foundation, has fast garnered a reputation as South Africa’s premier event for existing and aspiring entrepreneurs, showcasing credible business opportunities, franchising options and valuable business investment prospects.
So it’s not surprising thousands of budding business owners descended on the 2010 expo to explore the more than 230 products and services on display. This year’s event was held for the first time at the Coca-Cola dome, with the new venue creating a tangible buzz of energy and being exceptionally well received by both visitors and exhibitors.
Expo delivers strong ROI for exhibitors
Aside from the bigger venue, exhibitors were impressed with the expo’s organisation, visitor attendance, and networking and sales lead generation opportunities. “The expo provided good exposure for our brand and we achieved the ultimate objective in finding franchisees for Johannesburg,” said Craig Simpson of Gloria Jeans Coffees SA.
Alan Reeves, director of DIY Depot, agreed, saying, “Well done to the organisers on a well-run show. We had many leads and the general feedback from everyone on the show was extremely positive with regard to the venue and the management of the venue. I look forward to the next one.”
Similarly, C. Thamsanqa Maqubela, executive chairman of Qhubela Holdings, said the company was “inundated with calls and follow ups from prospective clients” after the show, which he described as “vibrant and busy”.
Many ranked the expo as the best in its class. “This was the best event I have attended recently and I was impressed with the slick and efficient manner in which the organisers got it all together. Well done, you have done yourselves proud!” said Farzana Ismail-Alvarado, marketing co-ordinator, SABC Audience Services Division.
Jane Collet of EnviroCair echoed these sentiments: “Just a note of thanks to you all and to all the other staff involved in the Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo. The expo was run superbly and professionally.”
Other exhibitors described the expo as “excellent with a 100% rating”; “an overall success and a great place for entrepreneurs”; “good and informative”; and “very good despite economic conditions and post-World Cup effects”.
“The mosaic of exhibitors was excellent and created interest for the visitors, whether you were considering starting a new business or looking to grow, there was something for everyone and lots of surprises round each corner. What delighted us the most was the number of leads the Eskom Business Investment Competition (BIC) finalists received over the four days and we will be looking forward to seeing their businesses grow over the next few months,” says Haylene Liberty, CEO of the Eskom Foundation.
Eskom BIC finalists enjoy business boost
Each year the Eskom Foundation hosts its Business Investment Competition which rewards successful small enterprises in the agriculture, manufacturing and trade/services sectors. This year the competition finalists were given the opportunity to exhibit as part of the expo, with each of them taking advantage of the chance to network and build their customer databases, and many securing valuable contracts as a result.
Some of the successes on this front included Limpopo-based Real Paints and Chemicals, which procured a valuable lead for assisting a courier company in Johannesburg with the opening of a new store there; and MD Toilet Tissue Services from Cape Town, which secured potential contracts to supply raw materials as well as bulk orders from two major South African retailers. Similarly, Durban-based Leather Touch is investigating a potential leather export contract for a Johannesburg business, while other finalists fielded a plethora of positive pricing, distribution and franchising enquiries.
Raising the bar on business expos
The Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo is constantly praised for its innovations and engaging attractions which really get to the heart of key issues and challenges facing entrepreneurs. This standard was maintained in 2010 with a host of new events designed to stimulate conversation and interaction.
“These innovations specifically aimed to bring the best experiential learning and motivational experiences to entrepreneurs. They were totally unique platforms that allowed visitors and exhibitors to gain access to successful entrepreneurs and experts in critical business areas such as marketing, branding, networking, leadership, financial success and taking advantage of business opportunities in the new economy,” says Glynis Anderson, general manager of Thebe Exhibitions and Projects.
This year, the expo’s innovations and attractions included the Conversations with Entrepreneurs Lounge, hosted by Brian Walsh of www.entrepreneur.co.za, which allowed visitors and exhibitors to network with and engage successful entrepreneurs. “The expo was a great showpiece of the many opportunities available to aspiring entrepreneurs. Our many participants where very happy with the overall attendance and organisation of the event,” said Walsh after the show. “I look forward to seeing it grow from strength to strength.”
The expo also featured the exciting Business Buzz Zone, presented by Unique Speakers Bureau, which provided unparalleled opportunities for entrepreneurs to learn from and directly interact with some of South Africa’s top business speakers and motivational leaders. These included Michael Jackson, Justin Cohen, Tove Kane, Iona Minton, Donna Rachelson, Helen Nicholson, Robin Wheeler and Kevin Horsley.
When it comes to business, image is everything, which is why the expo also hosted a dynamic fashion show of corporate and fashion wear, in conjunction with Urban Goddess and the Eskom Foundation. This sought-after lifestyle feature was complemented by onsite room makeovers, undertaken by the young, talented designers of the Potchefstroom Academy, and a stunning jewellery exhibition by the highly creative jewellery design students from the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).
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