More than just an expo

25 April 2018 | Local News

The Ondangwa town council's open market promoter, Rauna Shaulwa, sang the praises of the Ondangwa Trade and Industrial Exhibition (OTIE), saying the event helps to develop small and medium enterprises. The OTIE is expected to start this Friday and run until 5 May.

“We have observed that the exhibition is not only a platform for exhibitors to sell their products but also serves as a platform for them to market their products. There are people who visit the trade shows just to find out where to find the products they may need. We have advised all the traders to have business cards,” Shaulwa said.

She said that some of the SMEs have moved out of the open market and are operating in rented spaces.

“We have been observing this for the past few years and it is an indication that our SMEs are growing. The majority of them have registered their businesses with the ministry of trade and this also helps them to get assistance from the government,” she said.

Teopolina Namupala-Elifas of Kakunawe Fashion Design said that she has been participating in the exhibition for the past six years and has seen how her business has been growing.

“Since I have been participating in the exhibition I have seen my business grow.

"I do not only sell during the show, but I market my products. This is a good opportunity because every year I get new customers who follow me after the trade show,” Namupala-Elifas said.

She said her business is now self-sustaining and she operates from the CBD, a far cry from the informal settlement of Omashaka where she started out.

Another regular exhibitor Sofia Shilongo said that she started trading at the open market in 1994 and has been taking part in the exhibition since it started eight years ago.

“During the trade show I get time to see products exhibited by other traders from different parts of the country. This assists me to improve the quality of my products as well and it has been assisting my business to grow in terms of the product offering,” Shilongo said.

Ondangwa's CEO Ismael Namgongo said the council builds on the event every year.

“Since we started improving the infrastructure of the centre where the event is held, we have seen growing interest from vendors and visitors which also improves the overall quality of the event.

"During the show we also make provision for SME training which is offered to all Ondangwa SMEs whether they are exhibiting or not,” Mangongo said.

ILENI NANDJATO

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