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Namibian entrepreneurs share their Africa's Big 7 experience

Africa's Big 7 (AB7) Trade Exhibition, which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from Sunday, 18 June, to Tuesday, 20 June 2023 saw more than 170 exhibitors, with nearly 5000 visitors from 25 countries worldwide. 


Bank Windhoek sponsored N$ 100 000 towards the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board’s (NIPDB) existing Know2Grow High Potential Pool (K2G HPP), a specialised programme developed to assist MSMEs with significant export potential. The NIPDB developed the Know2Grow High Potential Pool Programme to aid in scaling the operations of export ready MSMEs with a high possibility of exporting their products. 


Two entrepreneurs from this K2G HPP were selected to participate in the Trade Exhibition. Shiwomeho Kalla, owner of Shiwa’s Bakery, and Erikson Malwa, who owns Talamo Food Namibia, said that the event was more than an eye-opener for them. 


Kalla and Malwa are both Bank Windhoek SME customers. Kalla said that the occasion offered her company a platform for networking. “We got to speak to industry experts and learned new techniques,” she said. “It was an opportunity to expose our brand and take it to new markets. It also allowed us to tap into everybody’s creativity.”


Malwa, whose company specialises in food processing, said he was delighted to take part in the initiative, because the event had all the food manufacturers and suppliers in one venue. He added that engaging with them was productive because it gave him a different business perspective, especially in the Namibian market. “It is an eye-opener because we now have access to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) market,” he said.


Bank Windhoek’s Head of SME, Financial and Data Analytics, Bianca Janse Van Vuuren, said she was pleased to note that the participating entrepreneurs had a memorable and productive business experience at the AB7 Trade Exhibition. "As a Connector of Positive Change, we are happy to have made it possible for our Namibian entrepreneurs to represent the country internationally. Trade exhibitions are excellent and powerful tools for networking and promotional purposes, and we wish our exhibitors successful outcomes from this experience,” she said.


Africa's Big 7 Trade Exhibition connects entrepreneurs directly with African buyers. It enables them to source products, develop new partnerships, and conclude export and import deals. “It was amazing to see how much passion bakers and other food traders have for their business. We are inspired to go out there and reinvent, innovate, and do much better to take our brand forward,” said Kalla. Malwa noted that his company exchanged products, ideas, and technology to improve their business. “I have leads that I am going to follow up and you will see the change in Talamo Foods during the next two to three years,” he said.


The next event will take place from Tuesday, 11 to Thursday, 13 June 2024, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The African food and beverage suppliers use Africa’s Big 7 Trade Exhibition to launch new products, promote and sell to key decision-makers and buyers, build long-lasting relationships, and structure import and export deals. The exhibition is the continent's largest annual meeting place for the food and beverage industry.


Meanwhile, this week, the world celebrated Micro, Small and Medium-sized (MSMEs) Day on Tuesday, 27 June 2023. The United Nations General Assembly designated 27 June as MSMEs Day to raise awareness of the tremendous contributions of MSMEs to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The United Nations said that MSMEs account for 90 percent of businesses, 60 to 70 percent of employment and 50 percent of Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) worldwide.

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