The 20th annual Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo (BOFE) saw a 13% increase in visitor numbers this year, with strong interest from pan-African exhibitors for future shows.
The Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo (BOFE), staged in partnership with platinum sponsor Eskom at the Coca Cola dome from 12 – 15 September, saw over 8000 visitors streaming in to discuss business and franchise opportunities and business financing and support services with over 250 exhibitors. With opportunities starting from investments as low as a few hundred rand, visitors showed great interest in the possibilities on show.
Exhibitors participating in the event offered business opportunities requiring investments of anything from as little as R350, all the way to over R2 million. BOFE highlighted business opportunities suited to everyone’s skills, area and budget.
“We experienced a high calibre of visitors at BOFE. Visitors came prepared, they knew what to ask and they knew what they are looking for. BOFE 2013 was one of the best shows that we have participated in,” said one of the exhibitors, Gregory Binstead of Maxi’s.
Deals were made on the show floor, reported exhibitors, and hundreds of leads were generated during the event.
“We generated over 350 lead forms, and found that the visitors were serious about thoroughly investigating new business opportunities. BOFE certainly exceeded our expectations,” said Vicky van der Waldt of Renew My Car.
“The response to our product and the leads generated has been overwhelming. Johannesburg is the place to do business!” added exhibitor Flywheel Custom Chariots.
Lynn Chamier, General Manager of event organiser Thebe Exhibitions & Projects, said while exhibitors had been delighted with the response, a key success of the event had been the high level of interest from African delegates to participate in future BOFE shows. “With the growth in the food and retail sectors across on the continent, BOFE is poised for growth in bringing country pavilions and visitors from across the continent. Delegates from Nigeria and Lesotho have already expressed strong interest in being present in 2014, and Thebe Exhibitions & Projects is in talks with businesses in these and other African countries,” she says.
“We have had a very good response from the market, including good enquiries from Africa,” said exhibitor Atish Yogi of Durashine Technologies.
Eskom used the event as a platform to promote entrepreneurship among the youth, and its Eskom Development Foundation handed out prize money to the winners of its “Simama Ranta” secondary schools entrepreneurship competition.
Eskom exhibitors included established BEE companies in the key sectors of agriculture, manufacturing and trade/services. Eskom gave away a total of R1.7 million to the winners in its 20th Business Investment Competition (BIC 2013) at BOFE, helping to ensure that top entrepreneurs had the funding necessary to expand their businesses, and create jobs in their communities. A spokesman for the overall winner of BIC 2013, Liuhuwani Tshifhango, of Khariye Poultry Farming, said BOFE had been very interesting and useful for the company. “We marketed ourselves as much as we could, and saw huge demand. Visitors were looking for thousands of chickens. I feel like I can get those deals.”
Haylene Liberty, CEO of the Eskom Development Foundation, said: “At the Eskom Development Foundation supporting small business development is a top priority. Our sponsorship of the Business Opportunities & Franchise Expo is in line with this commitment and this year was a great success. Several of the Eskom Business Investment Competition finalists made great business contacts, initiated lucrative deals and they used the marketing opportunity to great success. We believe that the expo goes a long way to creating a culture conducive to successful and sustainable small businesses in South Africa.”
Chamier said exhibitors this year had shown increased innovation in marketing their opportunities. This year’s best exhibitors were:
· Best Booth Stand – Cazabella
· Best Small Stand – I Love Diepsloot
· Best Medium Stand – Spykos
· Best Large Stand – Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA)
· Best Eskom Business Investment Competition Stand – Flywheel Custom Chariots
· Best Simama Ranta School Stand – Springfontein Secondary School
· Platinum Award for Overall Stand Excellence – Operation Khanyisa
· Best Stand Personnel – Iconomy SA
· Best Eco-Friendly Stand – I Love Diepsloot
· Most Innovative Stand – Operation Khanyisa
· Most Organised Exhibitor – easy Forex
The next BOFE will be staged from 11 – 14 September 2014. Visit bofe.co.za for more information.