Business Support Organizations (BSOs) from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Macedonia, Serbia and Albania were represented at A+A in Düsseldorf. In preparing for this important trade fair, the BSOs worked closely with the SIPPO teams in the four countries. What did this cooperation look like in detail?
1,204 exhibitors from 56 nations and more than 25,000 people visited A+A in Düsseldorf at the end of October 2021. A+A is the leading International Trade Fair for Safety, Security and Health at Work.
Premiere for BSOs from North Macedonia
It was the first time that North Macedonia was present at the A+A. SIPPO North Macedonia worked closely with the Agency of Foreign Investment and Export Promotion of North Macedonia. This BSO is responsible for the national pavilions of North Macedonia at various trade fairs and in different industrial sectors. The other BSO partner was the Textile Trade Association-Textile Cluster (TTA-TTC). It promoted the event among its members and supported 6 companies during the fair.
SIPPO North Macedonia had already organised a study tour in 2019 to understand the concept of the fair, to explore the possibilities for a successful participation and to get a better understanding of the competitors in the market. As a result, the BSOs worked out three scenarios "live event, online event or cancellation” for the 2021 A+A. SIPPO supported the BSOs in preparing the online registration tool for the national pavilion. It organised training sessions on the use of digital marketing tools such as Linked-In and e-mail marketing. Further topics were: How to promote the fair to potential participants? How to attract new customers? How to formulate catchy key messages?
During the fair, the team of SIPPO advised the BSOs on the use of a modern CRM (Scan2Lead), on the acquisition of market knowledge and the collection and analysis of data regarding the latest trends in the workwear industry. SIPPO supported the BSOs in the management of the booth, in the build-up of relationships with visitors, and they identified areas for improvement for a next fair.
First joint presentation of Companies from Bosnia and Herzegovina
For the first time, the Foreign Trade Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FTC BIH), supported by their partners Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Republika Srpska and UTOK, the "Association of Textile Footwear and Leather", organized a joint presentation of companies from BiH at the A+A Trade Fair.
The team of SIPPO BiH prepared the trade fair participation together with FTC BiH and its partners. They developed a specific questionnaire to help the BSOs define the goals for a successful participation, i.e., to identify the unique selling points and to understand specific needs at an early stage. The BSOs used the questionnaire as a guide in their discussions with the participants. This made the concrete next steps in preparing the trade fair appearance much easier. Thanks to the intensive preparation, the 5 participating companies established contacts with 360 potential business partners. Moreover, the collaboration of SIPPO and the BSOs resulted in structures that will substantially simplify the participation at trade fairs in the future.
Digital tools as support
The close cooperation of SIPPO Serbia with the BSOs Privredna komora Srbije and Development Agency of Serbia (RAS) enabled 9 Serbian companies to take part in A+A 2021. SIPPO and the BSO Privredna komora Srbije set up the digital platform "Serbia Connect" https://expo.pks.rs/ , which companies used to introduce themselves in the run-up to the fair and to book meetings with visitors.
SIPPO Serbia advised the BSOs on two levels: On the one hand in the preparation of the physical presence at the fair by selecting the companies, preparing the exhibition, and training the companies, and on the other hand by supporting the development of the digital platform. This gave the companies' presence at the fair an additional boost, as visitors were able find the companies' profiles via the digital platform.
The close cooperation between SIPPO Serbia and the two BSOs ultimately resulted in 3 contracts with a potential export volume of 2.5 million euros. The 340 physical contacts with buyers at A+A, and the 517 contacts via hybrid events will continue to have a positive impact in the longer term.
Albania: Study tour
SIPPO supported its new partner BSO Prokesport Albania on a study tour to A+A Düsseldorf to learn more about new trends in the workwear and protective clothing industry and to assess the effectiveness of such trade fairs after the pandemic. Proeksport Albania held more than 40 meetings with companies and organisations at the fair. They learned about business opportunities to improve the textile sector in Albania and about the potential of this sector in the target markets. Albania participated at A+A 2019. This year’s study tour will help Proeksport to plan the attendance at the next A+A with a country pavilion, together with other partner BSOs.