Helping the little guys grow

Baitshepi Sekgweng
HELPING HAND: Vinod Madhavan

Consumer Fair continues SMME push

As the country’s biggest trade fair, the Botswana Consumer Fair is keen not to leave ‘the little man’ behind.

Opening the doors for its latest installment on Monday, speakers at the event hailed Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) as key players of economic growth and innovation due to their potential for job creation and sustaining many livelihoods and households.

To show their commitment to this crucial sector, last year the fair introduced its ‘Traders Hub’, which caters purely for small businesses.

Building on a successful debut, which saw the Hub attract 50 exhibitors, this time around 60 SMMEs are set to participate.

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Delivering the keynote address at Monday’s official opening, Choppies Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Vinod Madhavan highlighted the retail giant’s commitment to supporting local start-ups.

“It fills me with great pride to say that we carry products from most SMMES as retailers. By providing them with shelf space and access to market in all localities where stores are present, we have played a crucial role in nurturing and growing their brands,” he declared.

Madhavan added that the fair’s tagline of ‘Engage, Shop and Showcase’ perfectly encapsulates the essence of what the Hub, and indeed the event as a whole, aims to achieve.

“It is through meaningful engagement, collaboration and partnerships that we can drive our businesses forward. By shopping locally and supporting our SMMES we empower them to thrive and make a significant impact on the economy. By showcasing the resilience, adaptability and integrity of our businesses we foster consumer confidence in the quality and integrity of our products and services,” stated Choppies’ second-in-command, adding that while the post Covid era has presented unprecedented challenges for businesses, it has also given rise to new opportunities for growth and transformation.

Outlining precisely what makes Traders Hub tick, Fairground Holdings CEO, Gorata Gabaraane said the platform was all about providing local brands with market access by linking them with buyers and value chain participants.

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“The Traders Hub is where commerce thrives. This vibrant platform offers unparalleled opportunities for manufacturers of locally produced goods to connect, learn, and grow their businesses. We are committed to providing an ecosystem where businesses flourish, thrive, and achieve their full potential,” gushed Gabaraane.

570 organisations from 30 different exhibition categories will showcase their wares at the on-going 2023 edition, a notable rise from the 500 who had stalls at last year’s event.

This year the fair, which continues until 3rd September, has managed to attract local, regional, and international exhibitors, with representation from countries such as South Africa, Ghana, Eswatini, Egypt, China, Japan, Kenya, Nigeria, and Ethiopia.

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