Some 271 local exhibitors and nearly 150 foreign enterprises are taking part in the ongoing 2016 trade fair, which has attracted businesses from 17 countries around the world.
Traditionally, the annual event has served as an opportunity for local businesses to showcase their products and to potentially tap into the rich experiences of participating foreign counterparts.
And it is to be hoped that local enterprises showcasing their products at this year’s edition will be no less keen to learn from more experienced exhibitors at a time businesses are increasingly faced with the challenge to be innovative and creative to meet the ever-changing tastes and preferences of customers.
Indeed, in an increasingly competitive global village, only businesses that continually position themselves with view to becoming the number one choice of consumers will survive this cutthroat competition.
And enterprises that are keen to occupy and retain the enviable position of being the preferred choice of consumers will need to be pragmatic and creative in their operations – as this will allow them to come up with products that meet individual needs of consumers.
Rwandan firms participating in the ongoing trade fair will be expected to have this perspective at the back of their mind and do everything possible to leverage this opportunity to achieve that goal. They will be expected to seek to learn from other exhibitors – local or foreign – through networking and building strategic partnerships.
Crucially, local enterprises, especially SMEs, should not view competition as necessarily a bad thing for them, rather they should make the most of the existing business friendly environment and the opportunities that increased competition often creates to challenge themselves to produce competitive products and brands, and to raise their profile beyond the country’s borders.
The 2016 trade exhibition comes at a time the government is actively promoting ‘Made in Rwanda’ brands as part of a broader effort to bridge an ever growing trade deficit.
As such, it’s extremely important that Rwandans are sensitised about the importance of buying Rwandan. And the trade fair is one perfect opportunity to raise this awareness. So, local businesses must do everything possible to make sure that expo goers get to know about them – even if one has no intentions of buying immediately.
Local firms need to up their game in terms of marketing and communication with view to making sure that Rwandans and others are sufficiently informed about their presence and their products and why they should consider them as a preferred choice.