WSS Promises Better Show Next Year

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Following numerous complaints of unfair treatment and inconsideration in the positioning of stalls for small entrepreneurs at the 2006 Windhoek Show, organizers have assured a more organized approach. A statement released to the media by the Windhoek Show Society (WSS) on Sunday said the organizers acknowledge the shortcomings and are hopeful that the exhibitors will be better placed next year. Initially, the organizers had identified what, in their view, was a strategic area for informal traders or small businesses, but the area was abandoned. “Having rejected the area prepared for them by the Show Organizers, the informal traders were moved, on the second day of the Show, to a locality identified by them,” the statement reads. The area was devoid of any suitable infrastructure. Organizers are convinced that the newly-identified area will be ideal for the creation of a permanent market plaza and will be developed in collaboration with the City Council, to be ready for the 2007 Show. SME stand-holders at the show complained of unfair treatment by the organizers in terms of allocation of stands for selling their wares. Initially these traders, registered to sell art and craft items, were situated in the SME Plaza behind the Snake Park. They were later moved out of the tent to sell their wares near the entertainment grounds where it was believed they would be more visible. On the contrary, business was not so brisk there. The other complaint revolved around the amount paid for a stall. The Show Society allegedly charged SMEs N$2ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 per stand – the same as any other exhibitor occupying larger and more convenient stalls. Another area the organizers identified as sub-standard, involved the constant blackouts the exhibitors had to endure. The organizers said in a statement that, before the next show, they would investigate and establish a more acceptable method to access control for exhibitors. The present compulsory armbands which need to be worn for the duration of the show, met with increased resistance from exhibitors. The show will in future encourage exhibitors to use the platform to launch new products and to offer specials to show-goers.