70% of RX exhibitors are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) who rely on trade shows to build business networks, elevate their brands, enter new export markets, and generate vital sales leads. In Part 3 of the RX Building Business Series, we look at the many and varied ways our events, are helping to propel small businesses into the big time.
According to UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, 80% of trade show exhibitors are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), equating to nearly 4.25 million small businesses who regularly turn to in-person trade platforms to meet qualified product buyers.
Trade shows have long been recognised as the quickest and cost-effective way to enter a market and build up an instant pipeline of quality sales leads. SMEs have been hardest hit by the absence of live marketplaces over the past two years, and their relief and excitement at the return of live events is palpable. In the latest customer survey by RX, ‘maintaining contact with existing customers’ and ‘reduced sales’ were among the top challenges cited by exhibitors, and 78% said that trade shows offer them something they can’t get elsewhere. That ‘something’ is the power of face to face events.
For a new business, nothing compares to the opportunity to physically show your products to a captive audience of qualified buyers. At RX events you can also cultivate personal relationships with prospects and potential partners; build vital brand awareness; learn about your industry and gain valuable competitive insights; achieve recognition as an award-winning innovator or sustainability champion; even attract seed funding for your big idea. You can also take advantage of AI-powered event digital and data tools which ease the exhibiting process, enhance your online visibility, and connect you with new buyers both at the show and attending remotely from around the world.
Opening doors to trade show success
Exhibiting for the first time can seem like a daunting prospect for a small business on a tight budget. Many companies make their first appearance as part of a trade association stand enjoying subsidised participation and marketing support. But our events also have support packages in place to help new companies access the marketplace and exhibit with confidence.
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RX ‒ your trusted partner in international sales
Exhibiting overseas is one of the fastest ways for SMEs to enter new export markets. RX’s International Sales Group (ISG) is a network of local market experts and agents in 47 countries. Every year, they assist some 24,000 companies with the implementation of their export strategies, resulting in billions of dollars of export business.
“We educate SMEs on new export opportunities and advise them on the best route to market, either alone or as part of a trade association group or national pavilion,” explained Sales Manager Oral Sengonul, who has over 10 years of experience working with RX customers in Turkey to open up new export opportunities via our shows.
“We help them secure government grants and other financial support for where available, assist with organising their participation, and support them onsite. In short, we help them enjoy a profitable, trouble-free experience.”
“I work hard to help new customers take their first steps with overseas exhibiting as I know from past experience how beneficial it can be,” adds Oral.
“I always try to put myself in the customer’s shoes to understand their specific business goals and tailor the right solution for their needs and budget. I also enjoy spending time with them at the show, where I am available to help them with the stand build-up, advise them on local business etiquette, and overcome any language issues.”
Ankara-based FAF Valve have exhibited at several RX events to boost their export sales, including Pollutec in France and Mostro Convegno Expocomfort in Milan. “We appreciate the professional approach of RX Turkey’s international sales team,” said the company. “They never push us to make decisions but provide all the information we need to make an informed decision ourselves. We always feel we can rely on them when we choose to exhibit at an RX event.”
SME skills training and mentoring in South Africa
As Southern Africa’s leading exhibition organiser, RX Africa has a proven track record of supporting SME development in South Africa – not only at our trade shows but through our partnership with SME TradeLinks.
SME TradeLinks is a 100% Black owned company that brings SMEs, entrepreneurs, financiers, public and private sector procurement managers together with export agents, and experienced business mentors and coaches, to form a powerful platform that supports and accelerates the growth of South African SMEs.
“South Africa is facing a huge unemployment challenge and entrepreneurship is presented as one of the viable solutions for addressing the challenge; however, the country lacks a strong entrepreneurship culture, as many people view formal government or private sector jobs as the only pathway to a good and economically secure life.”
“This makes business development support critical, as it provides the necessary tools and guidance young entrepreneurs need as they steer their start-ups on their way to success and sustainability.”
RX Africa and SME TradeLinks have been partners since 2016, implementing an incubation programme that supports small businesses that are already providing goods and services to RX or that have the potential to do so.
“Helping black- and women-owned businesses with skills development and job creation is a business imperative for RX Africa. We are actively involved in the implementation of the incubation programme which includes skills training, mentoring, coaching, and a small grant component.”
“As a long-time supporter of investing time, effort and finances into entities whose initiatives will impact skills and job creation, we are proud to be associated with SME TradeLinks and its achievements.”
SME TradeLinks puts out calls for applications to SMEs using a variety of channels to attract high growth potential entities in the tourism, hospitality and allied sectors, and help them build the critical capabilities they require to grow into thriving businesses.
“Through our many years of working with RX, we have established a solid SME incubation programme targeting the MICE sector,” says Dr Siddo.
“By supporting small business development, RX is contributing to job and wealth creation in our society, and we are grateful that they have chosen to partner with SME TradeLinks in this endeavour.”
This is part three of the RX Building Business Series. For more insights into how we are helping our customers to rebuild and grow post-pandemic, find out how we are delivering more value than ever in a changing world (Part 1), and delivering magical experiences that have the power to inspire and connect (Part 2)