Business networking at Africa’s biggest trade event

By participating in business to business (B2B) meetings at the renowned African Utility Week (AUW), small, medium-sized and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in the water and power utility sector that benefit from European Union (EU) support will be better able to expand business abroad.

Business Beyond Borders (BBB) is a European Commission initiative to help EU businesses, in particular SMMEs and related clusters, operate internationally with the ultimate goal of increasing economic growth within and outside Europe.

The next BBB business connections event will take place at AUW, to be held in Cape Town from May 16 to 18 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

A series of business connections events are being organised to bring together SMMEs and representatives from relevant clusters, with potential trading partners from Europe and abroad, with the aim of assisting businesses to access new international markets.

After a first successful business connections session at the energy and environment-focused 2017 Genera fair, which took place in the beginning of March in Madrid, Spain, BBB is turning its attention to the biggest trade fair on the African continent.

Hosting thousands of visitors, AUW is known for a strong representation of EU companies at the event, hosting national pavilions for Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium and the Czech Republic.

“By helping EU green SMMEs operate internationally and by promoting green partnerships in target sectors, this BBB business connections event at AUW will help preserve our natural resources, promote clean energy and drive growth through a circular economy,” says European maritime affairs and fisheries commissioner Karmenu Vella welcoming the upcoming BBB event.

Owing to the large network of partners and support entities, a unique package is being made available to businesses across the world in the water and power utility sector wishing to take part in AUW as members of the BBB delegation.

These include business meetings perfectly matching each BBB delegate’s needs and preferences, access to five technical sessions in the strategic conference – one of which, on hydropower, is organised by waste management initiative Environmental Research and Education Foundation, a convenient business connections area at the heart of the trade fair with free access to the side conferences during the fair, access to an international and well placed worldwide network, including several EU-funded support schemes, and the possibility for companies and technology to be presented in the “demo zone” stage.

2017 BBB events
Other events BBB participates in, include Texworld, which takes place twice a year in Paris, France, with more than 900 exhibitors.

The event will be in September 18 to 21. It offers professional buyers from all over the world a rich variety of products from basic to creative high-end fabrics of excellent quality.

It is “a must” for manufacturers specialising in cotton, denim, embroidery, lace, knitted fabrics, fibres, functional fabrics, linen, hemp, prints, shirting, silk, silky aspects, trims and accessories, wool, wool blends and machinery.

Moreover, the presence of a “small order itinerary”, which lists the exhibitors who can sell small quantities to designers, is a significant benefit of the fair.

In keeping with the ecofriendly outlook, Texworld showcases around 100 suppliers of organic cotton, linen and hemp, recycled material and other sustainable textiles.

Taking place at the same time and location is Apparel Sourcing Paris, the number one European trade fair for worldwide apparel sourcing.

The accessories showcase has more than 400 manufacturers. The range of men’s, women’s and children’s accessories includes the entire price spectrum.

The recently created Avantex Paris is another event BBB participates in. Dedicated to high-tech and fashion, it integrates raw materials and components, finished goods, services and technologies to the benefit of associated manufacturing, design and prototyping processes and retail activities.

Meanwhile, hospitality exhibition Host has established itself as the leader in the EU’s food service industry, retail, mass distribution channel and hotel industries.

Its event is taking place in Milan, Italy, from October 20 to 24, is a hub for the sector in the EU, and is a must-attend for all professionals who work in the hospitality industry.

Now in its fortieth year, it is according to BBB a “privileged destination to learn about innovations from companies and for understanding the latest market trends”.

Of further interest to the SMMEs that take part in BBB’s programmes, is the trade show created 30 years ago, the former Cartes Secure Connexions, which took place every year in Paris, France, and which is now to be held at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France, under the name Trustech.

The event aims to be the hub of the international secure-connection community, to help market players define future strategies and develop the ways in which technologies are used to generate business opportunities.

The event is “a good fit” with the Sophia Antipolis Science and Technology Park and the Côte d’Azur high-tech ecosystem and, in particular, the Secured Communicating Solutions (SCS) competitiveness cluster founded in 2005, says BBB.

The event brings together more than 300 players, including global industry leaders, research organisations, start-ups and SMMEs.

“Acting as an economic growth booster, the SCS cluster helps SMMEs on the road to growth through value-added services.”