Model-cum-designer Mabel Khonje says the ongoing World Expo in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has opened business opportunities for her.
The fashion designer is among Malawian entrepreneurs attending the B2B meetings at the World Expo under the Black Indigenous Business Network (BIBN). The meetings started on Tuesday and were expected to wind up yesterday.
Minister of Trade and Industry Mark Katsonga Phiri and Malawi Investment and Trade Centre chief executive officer Paul Kwengwere are also attending the meetings which are aimed at building connections and finding new clients and potential partners for small and medium businesses.
Khonje said as a fashion designer, the meetings have been an eye opener as they have helped her appreciate the business models that are used by counterparts from other countries plus linking up with potential partners.
She said she is impressed with the progress that Malawian entrepreneurs have made.
“The meetings have been very beneficial and crucial for our growth. We have made a lot of connections and on a personal level I have managed to strike a partnership with a company from UAE. I can’t reveal the name until the deal is formally sealed,” said Khonje.
On his part, Katsonga Phiri said Malawi is ready to do business with companies from the UAE to help the country drive its industrialisation agenda.
Said the minister: “Opportunities are endless and we are looking for the right investors with the right technologies to come and partner with us.”
Katsonga Phiri, together with members of the BIBN had an audience with a number of companies including Nivesal, which is a Singaporean company that works with a number of private sector players in Malawi.
Leader for BIBN Kettie Kamwangira said the experience has exposed them to countries and companies who are serious in terms of marketing their products and goods. She said they have exchanged notes with investors from Hong Kong, Egypt, Vietnam and other countries.
“For other developed countries they are so serious when it comes to expo events because this is where you strike deals and build relationships from country to country and business to business. It has been a great experience to meet several business people,” she said.
Khonje attracted global acclaim when she introduced her lingerie line Boudoir by Doll Mabel two years ago.