Over N$1m raised for OATF

02 July 2019 | Events

The ever-increasing business expos and trade fairs held in almost every town across the country have become worrisome and impact corporate social investment (CSI) budgets, hampers logistics and also creates an unrealistic expectation in terms of sponsors.

This is according to the John Ekongo, the corporate affairs and communications manager for MTC, who was speaking during the 2019 Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair (OATF) gala dinner over the weekend that raised N$1 171 670.

The 20th OATF is planned for 23 to 31 August under the theme 'Fostering economic growth through innovation'.

MTC remains the main sponsor of the OATF and pledged N$450 000 during the dinner, while First National Bank (FNB) pledged N$160 000, Standard Bank N$150 000 and Indongo Ford N$70 000.

Ekongo said to his modest understanding is that the theme calls for innovation.

It means that in order to continue providing customer benefits and satisfaction, to meet customer demands, companies need to adopt and incorporate innovation at the core of their business practices, he said

“We need to incorporate innovation in every unit of our organisations, in order to shield and protect our competency and relevancy in the market. In business, it is known that he who refuses to be innovative will perish, become obsolete and eventually die a natural death. As they say, the Stone Age did not end because people ran out of stones, but because people discovered iron and metal,” Ekongo said. “We thus need to make certain that our business models and processes are innovatively designed to safely position and set ourselves… for the future. We cannot provide and deliver services to our customers today in the same way we use to do it in the 1990s. We cannot offer the same product offerings, with the same design, features and functionalities today in the same way that we used do it in the 1990s.”

Ekongo, however, expressed his disappointment with “a new unfolding exercise” that is bringing expos and trade shows to almost every town, village and settlement, but nothing unique and different.

“Oftentimes, corporates are forced to support the attainment of business objectives. I will not be surprised if I wake up and hear that locations within towns are now also hosting their own expos. I will not be stunned if one day I hear that Uupindi location is now hosting its own expo, and is also soliciting for sponsorship.

“To that effect, we thus once again strongly advise and call on regional and local authorities to consider forming a harmonised show calendar that adopts a rotation policy, to eliminate the over-duplication of trade fairs, shows and expos.

“A harmonised calendar that will reduce unnecessary competition, and most desirably, bring about unity as we strive for economic growth. This harmonised calendar will also assist sponsors to effectively plan and streamline support for what will be a unified show,” Ekongo advised.

He said for as long as their commitment to supporting trade exhibitions is maintained, MTC will continue to echo this sentiment, until progress is achieved to this effect.

Northern Regional Energy Distributor (Nored) CEO Fillemon Nakashole, who was a guest speaker, said he has been a judge at the OATF for the past 10 years and has learnt that many exhibitors find themselves participating in business expositions without realising what they want to achieve.

He said that inconsistencies with information dissemination, coupled with unprepared exhibition teams, exhibiting without theme, relatively poor or poor customer service and the team's attitude and behaviour are a few mistakes he has observed, and if not addressed, they have a potentially detrimental effect on both the event and the company's reputation.

“It must be understood that an exhibition is a key moment in the business year and exhibitors need to be proactive and innovative. People visit exhibitions for three basic reasons: To be entertained, to find out how a new product or service actually works, and to find out if a business transaction might be agreed upon between the two parties,” Nakashole said.

ILENI NANDJATO