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Thousands of entrepreneurs, investors and aspiring business owners converged on the Coca-Cola dome in Johannesburg from 13-16 September, to seal the success of the 19th annual Business Opportunities & Franchise Exhibition.
The expo, presented with Partner and Platinum sponsor, Eskom and Silver sponsor, Standard Bank, has long since established itself as the premier platform for entrepreneurs to examine available business opportunities to find their perfect match and glean the knowledge and support necessary to successfully start and manage their own business.
The measure of an expo's success is its ability to attract a quality audience whose objectives in visiting the show match those of the show and its exhibitors and the Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo succeeded in doing exactly that.
According to Sarah Howarth, general manager of Thebe Exhibitions & Projects, organiser of the expo, visitor research undertaken at the expo reveals that 94% of visitors surveyed plan to expand or start their own business in the next year or two.
"Equally encouraging was the fact that 75% of those surveyed rated the likelihood of their buying into a franchise or business opportunity available at the show between 3 and 5 on a scale of 1 to 5, while 70% said they would definitely return to the expo next year and 94% said they would recommend the show to colleagues and friends," adds Howarth.
Exhibitors were equally enthusiastic in their praise for the expo. One exhibitor, the owner of Ubuntu Connect, describes it thus: "I am blown away! Best investment I've made in my business since I started." A representative from the magazine, Management Today, adds, "This is the best organised event and we do more than 10 a year," while another from Rothanya Fleet and Asset management describes BOFE as "a place to be for business and personal growth as well as for strategic development".
Says Guy Robertson, sales and marketing manager of Solar Charge, which showcased its newly launched Solar Powered Connection Centre, "The Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo far exceeded our expectations. We were hugely successful in marketing our Connection Centre as a new business opportunity and were able to sell numerous units in the process."
Over the years, the Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo has also become a highlight on the calendars of corporate procurement officers looking for new suppliers to help meet their BEE procurement targets. The 2012 show did not disappoint and the Eskom Development Foundation's SME Pavilion, showcasing pre-qualified BEE suppliers, proved to be popular among these executives and lucrative for the small business owners who participated in it.
Among the highlights of the 2012 expo was the Business Buzz Zone, where keynote speakers presented free workshops to expo visitors - offering insights into trends and lessons to empower entrepreneurs for success. The success of this endeavour was again evident in the visitor research, where 31% of participants gave the presentations a score of 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 and a further 26% rated them a 4.
Standard Bank's BizConnect Zone was another drawcard that featured interactive workshops, presentations, panel discussions and Q&A sessions. Participants were addressed by respected business leaders on topics that included, among others, securing finance, the economic outlook, staying motivated, using social media effectively, successfully launching a business and expanding a business. Visitor research bore out the success of Standard Bank the BizConnect Zone, with 52% of respondents giving the presentations scores of between 4 and 5 on a scale of 1 to 5.
Howarth concludes, "It was immensely encouraging to see that the entrepreneurial spirit that South Africans are so well known for, is alive and well. The level of interest, enthusiasm and motivation shown by aspiring business owners and investors at this year's show, bodes well for the future economic growth of our country."
Reed Exhibitions is the world's leading events organiser, with over 500 events in 30 countries.
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