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Local and international buyers attend NEXT18 Trade Exhibition

Tuesday, 20 March 2018   (0 Comments)
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A group of 33 leading South African designers presented their new product ranges at the NEXT18 exhibition in Cape Town this February. There was fantastic feedback and visitors included top local hotels and tourism companies, numerous retailers, as well as international buyers from France, Reunion, Netherlands, Germany, USA, Ivory Coast, UK, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Kenya, Senegal, and Switzerland.


The NEXT18 Trade Exhibition, which took place from February 22 - 25, was part of the ´Development by Design´ (DbD) programme, which enables small and medium businesses in South Africa to develop and grow. Over 50 entrepreneurs have been participating in this programme, taking their design studio, workshop or manufacturing company to the ‘next level’, and onwards to the export market. The project is an initiative of The Dutch Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI), and their local partners, the Craft and Design Institute (CDI) and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda).


The ´Development by Design´ programme focuses on the professional development of entrepreneurs, providing training and coaching to prepare them for entry into the European market. To put into practice the trainings and workshops, they participate in leading local and European trade fairs. The NEXT18 Trade Exhibition was a new initiative, and the first stand-alone event of the DbD programme.

Here's what participating businesses had to say about NEXT18:

“A HUGE thank you from me for the great show and wonderful journey on the programme. Thank you for the input, attention, perseverance and incredible vision and insight throughout the process! So appreciated. The show with everybody’s products looked fab - know how much hard work went into! Was awesome to be part of it.” – Joanina Pastoll of Studio Sterling

“I received some great feedback. I had two old clients of mine that enquired about my new collection. These are local distributor and other one is a boutique shop.” – Majda Rabin of Chimpel


Thank you to the CDI and CBI team for this amazing NEXT18 exhibition!” Yessi Micheau of African Jacquard


“Thank you very much for all the hard work that went into organising the NEXT18 Exhibition. I was very impressed with the feet that went through as well as the exhibition as a whole. The PR generated was terrific!” Wendren Setzer of The Wren Design.

Continued export development success


In addition to the NEXT18 Trade Exhibition, the past few months have been busy for participants who are nearing the end of their five-year export coaching  programme  ̶  a group went to Maison et Objet in Paris in September 2017, and another group took part in SARCDA in Johannesburg in August 2017.

CDI Market Support Manager, Fran Stewart says: “Development by Design provides quality export training to businesses which has proven to lead to more export-ready companies with high quality, well defined, unique products. We are incredibly proud to have a partner of the calibre of CBI helping to grow our local creative businesses.”

This innovative approach has not only created tangible results – an average of 56% increase in export sales (from 2016 – 2017 to EU/EFTA markets) – but also co-creation and collaboration between the participating entrepreneurs. Most of the creative entrepreneurs on the programme are women (60%), and 52% of their staff are women.

The ongoing support of the CBI through its local initiatives and collaboration with the CDI over the past four years has so far delivered:

  • Number of new local contacts made: +2 000
  • Number of new international contacts made: +1 500
  • Increased collaboration amongst the companies
  • Increased awareness of South African products and design in the EU market
  • Press, publicity and promotion
  • Awards and accolades at 100% Design (Best Furniture Design 2015), SARCDA (Gold Award Best Stand Design 2016), SARCDA (Silver Stand Award 2015), Maison & Objet (Fil Vert - Sustainable Design Award 2016)
  • Total export sales in 2017 alone of + Euro 1,1mil (R16.5m)

‘’De Steyl’s involvement with CBI’s Development by Design came at the perfect time for us, and as such, we have had tremendous insight into the otherwise seemingly daunting export market. With their unsurpassed knowledge of the export market, use of professional consultants, and tailored program, we have not only started exporting our products for the first time, but have seen our exports growing year on year, even surpassing our own projections.’’ Deanne Viljoen of De Steyl


‘’CBI’s programme has been hugely beneficial in supporting our efforts in the export market, with the inevitable positive spin offs in the local market as well. The structure of the programme, content, and quality of consultants, has been top notch…I couldn’t recommend it more highly. By combining current and appropriate content with their understanding of the market, the programme is a ‘must’ for any SME looking to explore the export market.’’ Heather Moore of Skinny laMinx


‘’The opportunity to be part of the Development by Design programme has been hugely beneficial to Feeling African, not just in the transfer of the skills and knowledge, but also in their incremental approach, allowing us to build the requisite knowledge and confidence ‘step by step’.  There is no doubt, that the growth that we have been experiencing, is in no small part attributable to this programme.’’ – Willard Musarurwa of Feeling African


More on the CBI

The Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) is part of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and is commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. CBI’s mission is to contribute to sustainable economic development in developing countries through the expansion of exports from these countries.

CBI focuses on the link between producing exporters and European buyers. The centre contributes to the sustainable strengthening of the competitive position of exporters, assisting them in trading in the European market, thereby positively contributing to poverty reduction and alleviation.

CBI’s Export Coaching Programme in South Africa focuses on exporters in the home decoration, home textiles, and small furniture sectors. The market entry phase of the project, titled ´Development by Design´, started in 2013.

For market intelligence to access the Dutch and European export markets, please see






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