SME businesses sign up for business fair

2014-08-15 00:00

THE Durban Business Fair has attracted 488 small and medium-sized (SME) businesses of the 533 businesses that have booked space for the event next month, said eThekwini deputy mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala.

The event, which runs from September 19 to September 21, and is now in its 16th year, is expected to attract 13 000 visitors, an increase from around 12 000 visitors last year, Shabalala said at a briefing this week.

Ethekwini head of business support, tourism and marketing Phillip Sithole, said the exhibition is an exceptional success in that the available space was sold out by June 30, while many other national and international exhibitions struggle to fill their exhibition space.

Shabalala said the event has, through the years, become a flagship economic development initiative of the municipality, and the aim is not for the city to make a profit from it, but to encourage economic development and growth of the SME sector.

It has become the biggest gathering of its kind in the southern hemisphere, she said.

She said the city also wants to rejuvenate industrial areas that have been in decline since 1994, places such as Jacobs, New Germany and Westmead, so they can again provide as many jobs as they once did.

She said the fair has been expanded with new features again this year. Some of these included My Startup — I am an Entrepreneur, on September 16; a Co-Operatives Summit on September 17; Trade Night on September 18 and Speed Marketing on September 19 and September 20. An international pavilion is also planned.

A Business Connect programme scheduled for August 26 at the Hilton Hotel will feature influential and established business people as panellists to share their business expertise with the exhibitors.

Nozipho Radebe, the owner of Creative Native, which is an event stylist company, said exhibiting at the Durban Business Fair is her main marketing strategy and she usually generates enough business there to carry her business through the year.

Ntokoza Biyela, owner of Mzanzi Mobile Units, said he started exhibiting at the Umlazi Business Fair in 2007 before progressing to the main exhibition.

He said his company is successful and exports mobile units to several neighbouring countries.

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