The recent Business Beyond Borders (BBB) event at African Utility Week was praised by H. E. the Danish Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa, Trine Thygesen, as a “project to help EU businesses, in particular SMEs and clusters, to operate internationally by engaging in business opportunities – and our doors are open for Africa”.
The Danish Ambassador represented the voice of the EU at the first BBB event to take place outside Europe – which was held at African Utility Week (AUW), Cape Town (16th – 18th May), and focused on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and clusters in the water, power and utilities sector.
Speaking during AUW’s opening keynote session, Ms Thygesen said: “Africa is increasingly important to the EU. Major African markets with strong growth rates represent significant increased cooperation between our continents. May AUW be the platform for engaging in new sustainable and inclusive economic development in Africa as well as the EU.” The Danish Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa also underlined the potential for private investment in energy and water, as Ms. Thygesen believes that “the answer to unlocking more potential lies in the formulation of PPP’s within the water sector”.
Joining Ms. Thygesen during AUW’s keynote programme, were high-profile governmental and entrepreneurial personalities such as Dikobe Ben Martins, South African Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises; and Ben Ngubane, ESKOM’s Board Chairman.
During his keynote speech, Dikobe Ben Martins highlighted the fair’s potential to “share content and best practices” in the power and water sector: “The conference comes at a time when Africa is dealing with mounting challenges with regards to access to sustainable, modern energy services, which are a prerequisite for meeting basic human needs and for economic and social development”.
BBB is a European Commission-funded initiative which helps EU businesses to expand regionally and globally. By facilitating a series of Business-to-Business (B2B), Cluster-to-Cluster (C2C), and Business-to-Cluster (B2C) matchmaking events at the top international trade fairs around the world, the aim of the initiative is for new international business partnerships to be formed and deals to be brokered.
Over the course of AUW’s three days, BBB facilitated over 900 matchmaking meetings between more than 729 companies representing 60 countries.
Besides the one-to-one matchmaking sessions at the BBB Connecting Platform, SMEs and clusters also had the opportunity to present their business and technology to a wider audience at the BBB Demo Zone stand. Other BBB-supported activities included a Workshop on Hydropower organised by the European Renewable Energies Federation (EREF), and the BBB Social Media Competition, which sought to help participating companies increase their visibility online.
Coming from South Africa, one of the BBB Demo Zone participants, Mark Williams of Folia Water, considered the BBB initiative to be positive for his company: “You get to meet like-minded people in the water business and find collaborators, investors and potential customers. I have had several meetings that went very well, and hopefully we will have some follow-up to do. I definitely recommend Business Beyond Borders to any SMEs seeking to internationalise their business.”
The next BBB matchmaking event will take place on 18th-21st September at TEXWORLD, Paris, and will be aimed at companies operating in the textile and apparel industry.
To find out more about how European businesses can benefit from this opportunity to grow across borders with a complete package of professional support, visit the Business Beyond Borders website at www.businessbeyondborders.info
– ENDS –
Contact: Ana Oliveira, LOWeurope: firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTES TO EDITORS:
African Utility Week
African Utility Week is the only global meeting place, conference and trade exhibition for African power and water utility professionals. African Utility Week offers a unique networking opportunity for engineers, stakeholders and solution providers alike.
The 17th edition of African Utility Week took place from 16 to 18 May, 2017, and hosted thousands of businesses from across Europe and the world looking to trade and grow. The main sectors covered were products and services for the power, water and waste management utilities industry: power generation, T&D, metering, clean technology, finance, reliability, water supply or energy efficiency.
Future BBB events
African Utility Week was the second of ten BBB events planned for 2016-17. The previous (and first ever) event took place at Genera, Madrid on 28th February – 1st March. The next BBB event will take place at TEXWORLD, Paris from 18th-21st September 2017.
For the full list of future events, please visit: http://www.businessbeyondborders.info/events/
The Business Beyond Borders Consortium manages the programme on behalf of the European Commission. It comprises:
EUROCHAMBRES: The Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry represents over 20 million businesses in Europe – 98% of which are SMEs – through members in 43 countries and a network of 1700 regional and local Chambers.
EMECA: The European Major Exhibition Centres Association unites 22 leading exhibition venues in Europe. They provide businesses with an excellent infrastructure and outstanding information networks. The 22 EMECA Members organise and host 1,769 exhibitions a year, both in Europe and all over the globe, with more than 350,000 exhibitors and over 41,5 million visitors.
UFI: The leading global association of the world’s tradeshow organisers and exhibition centre operators, as well as the major national and international exhibition associations. UFI represents 700 member organisations in 83 countries around the world. Over 900 international trade fairs bear the UFI quality label.
LOW: A strategic communications consultancy based in Brussels, with a network of associates across Europe. We specialise in creating policy-rich events; managing complex programmes; PR & all types of marketing communications; and EU related public affairs.