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40 leading South African designers to showcase at Cape Town exhibition

Monday, 11 February 2019  
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A group of 40 leading South African designers will present their new product ranges of small furniture, lighting, home textiles, and fashion and home accessories at the NEXT19 exhibition in Cape Town this month.

The NEXT19 Trade Exhibition, taking place at the Scheryn Pavilion at the V & A Waterfront from 28 February  – 03 March, showcases the best of SA craft and design, ready to be ordered by local buyers and international importers, retailers and decorators. Attendance is free to all visitors.

The NEXT19 Trade Exhibition is part of the ´Development by Design´ programme, which enables small and medium businesses in South Africa to develop and grow. 60 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 partner, the Craft and Design Institute (CDI).

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 European trade fairs such as Maison & Objet in Paris and Ambiente in Frankfurt. The project also provides the opportunity to participate in South African trade fairs, such as 100% Design and SARCDA. The NEXT19 Trade Exhibition in Cape Town follows on from the highly successful inaugural NEXT exhibition in 2018.

Erica Elk, Executive Director of the CDI, said that the CBI’s ‘Development by Design’ programme, and the NEXT Trade Exhibition, has been a hugely successful platform for local small businesses to take their products, and South African design, to the world.

“Through the training and the opportunities provided by the CBI to these South African businesses, they have all taken a significant step forward into the international marketplace. Last year with NEXT, we saw buyers visit the trade exhibition from across the world, and we fully expect that this year we will attract even more with an expanded group of 40 companies participating.”

According to Irene Vermeulen of the Dutch Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI), one of the key aspects of the ´Development by Design´ programme is the content that places an emphasis on sustainability, not only in the business sense, but also socially and environmentally. This ‘triple bottom line’ approach is especially relevant in developing countries where social cohesion and environmental challenges exist.

“This innovative approach has not only created tangible results – an average over 50% increase in export sales (from 2016 – 2018 to EU/EFTA markets) – but also co-creation and collaboration between the participating entrepreneurs. Most of the creative entrepreneurs on our programme are women (60%), and 52 percent of their staff are women.”

New product ranges this year include hand woven rugs using recycled fabric from the apparel industry by Lula Rugs and a range of cushion covers, all unique pieces because of the use of natural dyes, by Aucamp Studio. Also featuring for the first time this year are stunning ceramics by Macassar Pottery, a community-based centre that trains members of the community to become skilled crafters, as well as young and upcoming ceramist Sikho Mququ, founder of Ckho Ceramique – he is participating with a range of designs
that are inspired by the patterns that make up the traditional blankets worn by Xhosa women, known as “Ityali”.

The paper sleeves, bags and wallets by The Wren are made of natural materials and therefore have a reduced environmental footprint, whilst the handmade felt accessories by Heartfelt take social aspects into account, providing decent work and income for women in a rural community. John Vogel’s furniture has handwoven panels, which are manufactured in their Cape Town factory, employing more than 50 skilled people.


The NEXT19 Trade Exhibition will take place from 28 February – 03 March daily at Scheryn Pavilion at the V & A Waterfront, located between the Two Oceans Aquarium/The Watershed and the Silo District.

For more visit:


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. 

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

  • Number of new local contacts made: +2 200
  • Number of new international contacts made: +1 800
  • 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 2018 of + Euro 1,2mil (±R20m)

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



Here's what participating businesses had to say about their experiences:

“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

‘’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



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