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Kabelo Dipholo
SERVICE WITH A SMILE: BBNTF is an excellent opportunity for small business to showcase their wares

BBNTF takes centre stage in the second city

The City of Francistown will host at least 200 exhibitors in the coming week, as the annual Business Botswana Northern Trade Fair (BBNTF) takes centre stage once again.

Scheduled for 24 to 28 May, the five-day business meet will be held at its spiritual home: the dusty but spacious Business Botswana (BB) Grounds in Gerald Estates.

The 27th installment of BBNTF takes place under the theme, ‘Promoting Economic Growth Through Industrialization’, with Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare assuming responsibility for officially opening the event on Friday morning.

Amid criticism that the fair had gone slightly stale in recent years, BB Regional Manager-North, Eileen Van der est, promised this year’s edition will be more exciting.

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“Already we’ve sold over 170 stalls, which is more than we managed last year. This is a good sign when more business people take notice and want to be a part of the event,” she said.

Van der est told Voice Money they also have many first time exhibitors, which she feels is another good indicator of the fair’s growth.

Two years after it was nearly plunged into oblivion by Covid-19, the Regional Manager beliefs this is the right time to be talking economic growth and industrialization.

“It is a perfect theme, for a city and nation looking at transformation. We are talking about possibilities and how we should structure our policies,” said Van der est.

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READY: Van der est is confident of a good show

“But whatever we do, industrialization should be at the forefront of all policies,” she added.

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The Regional Manager urged Francistowners and business owners to attend the event in large numbers and take advantage of the presence of key industry players in the second city.

“We’ve invited business leaders including Minister Gare, who’ll be present at a business dialogue we’re hosting,” she said, adding the platform will give businesses in the north a chance to engage and come up with tailor-made solutions for their problems.

“BBNTF offers something for everyone, and the city will be the first to benefit. Most hotels are fully booked, and a lot of other Francistown companies benefited as service providers,” she said.

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MILKING IT: The fair is a big attraction for school kids

Van de rest assured Voice Money they have pulled out all the stops to ensure nobody misses out on one of the biggest business gatherings in Ghetto.

“We’ve even partnered with Air Botswana to make it possible for our VIPs to make it to the official launch on Friday morning, and return with the evening flight back to Gaborone,” she disclosed

Responding to concerns from previous exhibitors that the BBNTF might be losing its relevance, and that very little is being done to improve the condition of the BB grounds in Gerald Estates, Van der est admitted such criticism has not gone unnoticed.

“There are plans to renovate and pave the area. But while that is still in the pipeline, we usually bring a water-bowser to help with dust at the area, and I believe the bowser has helped a great deal,” she said.

“I call on Francistowners to be a part of this exciting fair. Admission is absolutely free,” concluded Van der est.

While business is at the heart of the event, as always there will be a lighter side to proceedings, with a golf tournament, fun park and horse riding for the kids.

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