Pride of the North

Kabelo Dipholo

Northern Trade Fair returns

Plunged into the shadows by Covid-19 for two years, the annual Business Botswana Northern Trade Fair (BBNTF) is back and promising a bigger bang than ever before.

The world is a very different place since the event was last held, back in 2019, under the theme ‘Innovate, Integrate and Industrialise’.

One aspect that has remained unshakeable, however, is the importance of digitalisation in the modern world.

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Fittingly then, the theme for this year’s fair, the 26th that Business Botswana (BB) will have held in Francistown, is: ‘Accelerating the rise of a digital economy.’

Slated for Wednesday 25th to Sunday 29th May, the five-day fair returns to its traditional venue, the Business Botswana Grounds on the outskirts of Gerald.

Speaking to Voice Money last week, BB Regional Manager in the North, Eileen van der Est, promised the biggest trade fair of the year.

She explained that, as always, the main aim is to give exhibitors a platform to actively promote their businesses, while also networking with other exhibitors.

“In addition, the fair presents a significant opportunity for business branding and creation of new product visibility and to promote existing products,” added Van der Est.

Desperate to make up for lost time, the Northern boss revealed they’ve gone all out to make this year’s fair memorable by lining up several exciting activities.

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“We’re organising seminars, workshops, Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Government (B2G) meetings,” she disclosed.

As well as these serious undertakings, they’ll also be more laidback, relaxed outings, including a fashion show and golf tournament. Interested companies can sponsor a hole at the golfing contest for P4, 500.

“We expect another sold out event, in fact for now the only available space is the marquee and open area for small businesses,” she declared.

To encourage more women to take part in the fair, organisers are offering special prices for the fairer gender.

“There’s a discount for women exhibitors. Actually you can say there’s a discount for everyone because stall prices have not been increased. We’re aware of the hardships experienced by businesses in the last three years,” Van der Est told Voice Money.

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Prices range from P8, 492 per square metre (m2) for a stall in the marquee, P325/m2 for a paved open space or else it’s P216/m2 for an unpaved open spot.

“There’s a fixed P2, 200 fee for small businesses,” added Van der Est.

Saturday, which is traditionally the fair’s busiest day, will climax with a special prize-giving dinner.

“Tickets are available for P600 for the dinner, which is open to everyone; we once again anticipate a good turn-out,” she said.

Van der Est urged interested businesses to visit the Business Botswana website to register online, or call the Francistown office to book their space.

While she’s optimistic about the coming event, Van der Est is also aware that some companies will not be able to make it.

Without mentioning any names, she said there are some regular exhibitors who’ll be missing in action this year due to financial issues.

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“Some companies were really affected by the pandemic and are still on the recovery trail. Actually some didn’t survive and have closed shop. We, however, believe they’ll bounce back and once again use this platform to reach out to potential customers,” she said.

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