The BOCCIM Northern Trade Fair (BNTF) goes into its 19th year with a hope of turning fortunes around for the City of Francistown, which has seemingly been turned into a ghost town due to its inability to attract a wider market across business sectors.
When the fair kicks off on May 29 at BOCCIM grounds in Francistown, opportunities for local businesses are abundant. This year’s fair themed, “Unlocking opportunities through citizen participation in the economy of Botswana” is hoped to leave a long lasting effect and not just the momentary vibe that it infuses in the city during its duration.
This year’s fair is to set a different tone in the business sector through a holistic approach of facilitating a good business environment and also make it a networking platform of choice.
The revamp started with transforming the BOCCIM grounds into a ‘doing business’ outlook. The dusty area is now covered with concrete and parking has been demarcated to provide more parking space for exhibitors.
BOCCIM has also identified high demand organisations that provide services to the general public to hold workshops and explain the services they offer.
According to BOCCIM Regional Manager (North), Letus Chinyepi, this is a new addition to the fair, which will ensure that it becomes interactive and informative especially on the part of service providers. These workshops will run on May 31.
Chinyepi also cites that in their long journey in providing for a networking platform for the business community, they have also embraced developments such technological advancements, which is why they invited Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) Chief Executive Officer, Paul Taylor as the guest speaker.
He adds that technology particularly telecommunications is one way that aids profitable businesses in the current era.
Although BOCCIM has not yet devised a monitoring system for businesses that take part in this fair to determine benefits accrued from participation, Chinyepi states that they often get feedback from their direct stakeholders such as Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) through their mandate of monitoring and mentoring individual businesses.
“The fair’s objective is not necessarily to put sales volume into businesses but rather encourage networks that will lead to growth and ultimately drive profits,” said Chinyepi.
So far, 110 exhibitors have already registered out of a targeted 150 and it is still not clear how many countries regionally or internationally would take part in the fair.
Chinyepi says there are indications that countries like Mozambique and Malawi will participate as they have shown an interest. Last year the fair attracted exhibitors from as far as Pakistan in the retail sector. The fair ends on June 1.