Since spring this year, the virtual trade fair pitches of the Business Scouts for Development programme have offered companies with innovative product and service ideas from developing and emerging countries the chance to participate in an extensive trade fair promotion programme. After companies from Eastern Africa and Bolivia had already participated in the trade fair pitches, West and Central African companies were now given the opportunity to convince a jury of experts of their products and services.
The best from West Africa
21 selected small and medium-sized enterprises from Cameroon, Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire came together from 31st of May to 02nd of June 2021 at the third virtual trade fair pitch of the Business Scouts for Development programme (BSfD). The companies from the West African coast of Francophone Africa presented products and services from a wide range of sectors: Textiles, cosmetics, agro-processing and various food products. Afterwards, a jury of six experts consisting of representatives from Impact Hub, UNIDO, Manuyoo, FairPros, Import Promotion Desk (IPD) and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) selected the most innovative ideas. Astou Dia, co-founder of Impact Hub Abidjan was enthusiastic about the trade fair pitch format and the participants: "It was a great example of a virtual fair that allowed African entrepreneurs to showcase their products despite the pandemic and restrictions. The pitch sessions were a great opportunity to get to know the story behind the products and the companies. I was impressed with the quality of the presentations!"
17 companies were able to convince the expert jury. They will have access to a trade fair promotion programme that will optimally prepare them for participation in leading German and European trade fairs. Furthermore, they will be supported in placing their products on leverist.de.
One of the selected finalists is the Cameroonian textile company Buetec. For Kevin Guemto, General Manager of Buetec, the trade fair pitch came at the right time. The company is currently trying to gain a foothold in the European market. To this end, it has already acquired a German trademark. Through the successful trade fair pitch and the associated support programme, Buetec hopes to find customers and partners in Europe for its innovative and high-quality textile products. "We want to continue to grow in order to serve a larger share of the Cameroonian garment market and to represent "Made in Cameroon" well abroad," says Kevin Guemto.
Mon Choco, a chocolatier company from Côte d'Ivoire, is also among the selected companies for the BSfD programme's trade fair promotion. The quality of Mon Choco's corporate social responsibility and its anchoring in the company structures convinced the jury. The company applied primarily because of the prospect of market expansion as well as support in the certification process required for this and in overcoming trade restrictions when exporting to Europe.
Business Scouts promote trade fair participation
Business Scouts for Development work as development policy experts in around 40 countries worldwide. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), they advise German, European and local companies on development policy issues and promote responsible economic engagement via cooperation projects. The Business Scouts for Development work closely with partners from the business community and vocational training organizations in Germany and locally. By being based in partner institutions and foreign chambers of commerce, they are directly integrated into the economic structure and can initiate and promote development policy approaches.