The 15th edition of the Botswana Consumer Fair has attracted 265 exhibitors from 28 exhibition categories with 558 exhibition stalls, 47 of which will be at the Traders Hub.

According to Fairgrounds CEO, Gorata Gabaraane, exhibitors representing different sectors of the economy are drawn from the private sector, government departments, and non-governmental organisations. Some companies are from countries including Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Japan and Lesotho.

This year’s edition comes two years after a break imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Fairgrounds has enlisted around 13 companies, six of which will be deploying their services and employing around 186 people over the seven days of the Fair.

Fairgrounds Holdings have hired over 30 casual employees over the seven days to assist in all-important areas of business. “There are many other businesses that would benefit directly and indirectly from the Consumer Fair,” Gabaraane said this week.

According to Gabaraane, this year’s edition, which begins on Monday until September 4, also brings new improvements including the Tourism Pavilion, Food Court, which will be run by third parties and Traders Hub, which will facilitate business-to-business interactions within the Fair and give local producers, buyers and key value chain players a platform to exchange ideas.

She further added they are optimistic that the private sector will tap into available opportunities that the Consumer Fair presents.

The initial plan was to have at least 50 local companies from various sectors’ value chains participate at the Traders Hub, however, 47 are on board.

The 28 exhibition categories will be judged by a panel of 16 judges including the Chief judge and deputy chief judge. According to the deputy judge, Kopano Motswagae this exercise is mainly to motivate growth and competitiveness of local businesses.

“We will look at several factors including the overall appearance of the stall and its ability to attract potential clients. We will also look at whether the stall facilitates business interactions,” she said.

They will also foucs on the quality of exhibits, packaging of goods and whether staff deployed at the stall is able to clearly communicate the mandate of their company.

Entrance fees to the 15th edition of the Consumer Fair have also been reduced to allow multiple visits and to give visitors the ability to spend more money at the Fair.