FOR the past 21 years, the Southern African International Trade Exhibition for retail ready products (SAITEX) has attracted local and international companies, and business visitors from around the
world, all interested in doing business in Africa, and with Africa.
“It’s much more than a mere showcase of retail products,” says John Thomson, Managing Director of Exhibition Management Services, organisers of the event. “SAITEX is an ideal platform for discovering new markets, new products, new suppliers, service providers and customers, and networking with like-minded people in any of the myriad market categories and sectors it represents.”
The mammoth show’s co-location with the continent’s biggest food and beverage expo, Africa’s Big Seven (AB7,) at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, more than doubles the value-add for exhibitors and visitors. The co-located events enjoyed a record number of 980 exhibitors and 16,847 visitors this year, a 10% increase over 2012.
An excellent example of the business-boosting power of SAITEX is McKinley Chocolates, a small chocolatier based in Clarens in the Eastern Free State. Owners Calen Thomas and Gavin Boyd were invited to attend the expo by the Free State Agricultural Corporation and exhibited for the first time in 2013. “The response was better than any other trade show I have been to,” says Boyd. “We had a large number of offers, including one to create chocolate treats for an Indian retailer’s 180 million customer client base, as well as trade enquiries from companies in Australia, England, Saudi Arabia and Italy.”
The Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) has partnered with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) since 2005 to run its Train for Trade programme, which organises B2B meetings at SAITEX for participants from several SADC countries, including South Africa. These meetings have made a significant contribution to promoting intra-regional trade.
Ditiropele Development and Maintenance Services is one of the success stories of the JCCI’s Train for Trade programme. The company electrical and mechanical equipment and fittings and spare parts for industrial equipment.
The owner, Morongwe Malebye, attended the JCCI course, which gave her critical information about customs requirements for cross-border trade, logistics needs and tax issues.
“Our attendance at SAITEX gave us an opportunity to join a trade cluster with other businesses from outside South Africa,” says Morongwe. “We received orders from many local and foreign companies, and the revenue generated from SAITEX leads has so far exceeded R400,000.”
SAITEX 2014 takes place from 22 to 24 June 2014 at Gallagher Convention Centre.