Shows are Back in Full Force

Danny Meyer
Danny Meyer

THE EVER-POPULAR Windhoek Show takes place in the capital city this week and will again provide a platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their offering and generate sales.

The lifeblood of business is money so trade fairs and expos are excellent marketing opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Corporate firms, parastatals and public sector institutions also use the Windhoek Show and expos in Ongwediva, Okakarara, Rundu and other larger towns to market their goods and services.

In a calendar year, Namibia’s annual show season always started in March and ended in December, but the routine was disrupted when the corona virus arrived like a thief in the night.

Health and safety management measures included lockdowns and people movement restrictions.

Before the pandemic’s arrival, the number of trade fairs and expositions annually exceeded 40 and were even held in Otjinene, Okondjatu and other smaller towns.

Adding Christmas markets, wine and food expos, farmer’s markets, and bridal and motor vehicle shows held annually across the country, by 2019 the number had grown to over 60.

Entrepreneurs with a desire to tap into new markets or grow customer numbers will attest to the attractiveness of shows as a business growth strategy.

In turn municipalities used trade fairs as a local economic development strategy.

For decades now shows have been a highlight on the local business calendar of Grootfontein, Otjiwarongo, Gobabis, Mariental and Keetmanshoop.

Although agriculture remains the economic driver of such towns, sustainability lies in diversification and a broadening of the town’s economic base.

So, for those town council’s expos are a useful development tool.

For years Lüderitz, Walvis Bay and Swakopmund have used trade fairs to showcase more broadly what the town offers. Not only as tourism destinations for locals and not only for foreigners, but to promote business and investment opportunities.

Spinoffs for a town come in the form of broader community involvement with entertainment used as the magnet or drawcard.

It is not only the older municipalities that has used shows to grow a town’s economy even newer towns such as Eenhana, Outapi and Nkurenkuru have used expos to attract local and foreign investors.

Visits to those towns clearly reflect the outcome in terms of growth.

For years the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade, Industrialisation and SME Development ran a programme providing support to entrepreneurs to use expos as a marketing tool.

In past years, the ministry even supported the more ambitious enterprise-harbouring ambitions to venture into the export arena to exhibit at international trade fairs in neighbouring countries.

Hopefully, the ministry will reintroduce this business growth support programme.

Ponder for a moment the value to a town’s local economy of an expo, directly for stand rental, accommodation and food and beverage consumption.

Think of the number of jobs created during an expo – help to mount, dismantle and to staff stands, and to stage and run the event.
Even temporary jobs provide income to be spent in that local economy and work experience gaining opportunities.

Thank goodness, shows are back again, creating jobs in the short and long run, opening growth opportunities for enterprises and injecting money directly into local economies.

  • Danny Meyer is reachable at

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