Thebe Exhibitions and Projects has once again united with the Eskom Foundation for the 2011 Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo (BOFE) sponsored by Standard Bank, in a strategic partnership that will provide opportunities to aspiring entrepreneurs and small-to-medium enterprise owners.
The expo will run from 15 September to 18 September 2011 at the Coca-Cola dome. This will be the second time the event will be held at the spacious venue in North Riding.
"Entrepreneurs and the country's small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) are the true catalysts of economic growth. There is no denying the importance of the role that they play in our economy," says Carol Weaving, Managing Director of Thebe Exhibitions and Projects.
The 2010 event saw an outstanding turnout of visitors and the 2011 expo is expected to raise the bar, targeting over 10 000 guests who will be looking for leading business, investment, and franchising opportunities.
Haylene Liberty, CEO of the Eskom Foundation, says 2011 marks the tenth year of collaboration with the Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo. "We have run alongside the expo for the past decade, but we officially became partners of Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo in 2010 in a well matched Private/Public Partnership."
Now in its third year, Eskom Foundation presents the 2011 Eskom Business Investment competition (BIC), which aims to recognise, honour, reward and develop small business owners. It is open to small-to-medium sized, black-owned enterprises in South Africa in the agricultural, manufacturing, and trade/services sectors. The 27 Finalists - one from each sector representing their province - exhibit at BOFE as part of their prize.
"In terms of the Foundation's strategy, the support provided to small-to-medium businesses through the enterprise development programme, the Eskom Contractor Academy and BIC, not only assists with their growth, but helps create further employment opportunities," explains Liberty.
Liberty adds that at the same time, it creates an increasing pool of SME and black, women-owned (BWO) suppliers from which Eskom and other large corporate players can draw when procuring goods and services. "Actually, sourcing goods and services at this level makes for good corporate citizenship in itself," says Liberty.
Entrepreneurs and small-to-medium business owners need the encouragement to grow so they can continuously add to economic growth, while stimulating job opportunities. However, the growth of feasible and practical SMEs relies on access to investors and funding, the availability of information technology and infrastructure and good leadership and marketing opportunities.
Research from the 2010 Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo revealed that 72% of its attendees were interested in buying a business, while 62% of the visitors who attended the show have funds readily available to invest.
"South Africa has already proved to be resilient during a wave of recessions globally. By nurturing entrepreneurs and business owners, the country will put itself on a growth path that will ensure sustainable economic development and, consequently, improved systems for all who live in this unique and robust environment," concludes Weaving.
About BOFE The 2011 Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo (BOFE) proudly sponsored by Standard Bank, is a joint partnership between Thebe Exhibitions and Projects and The Eskom Foundation. The Star, Star Workplace and IOL are the official media partners for the event in 2011. BOFE is devoted to the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), providing aspirant entrepreneurs with opportunities to diversify their business portfolios. Visitors to BOFE will have the opportunity to research and explore a variety of investment prospects, franchise options and free workshops as well as networking with successful entrepreneurs.
BOFE takes place from 15 - 18 September, 2011, at the Coca-Cola dome. For more information, please visit: www.bofe.co.za.
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