First ever Afro Business Expo triumphs

Took place July 30-31

The first ever Afro Business Expo to initiate business partnerships and investments between African and the UK was a huge success.

The high profile event took place in the Thames Valley on Wednesday 30th and Thursday 31st July at the Royal Berkshire Conference Centre in Reading.

The event was opened in a prestigious fashion by Cllr. Tony Jones, Mayor of Reading.

30 UK and African based businesses from technology, agriculture, fashion; healthcare and food industries exhibited at the event to network, build a profile for their business and showcase their entrepreneurialism.

During the 2 days – a whole host of guest speakers shared their ideas and expertise on Anglo-African Trade including:

• Tim Smith – business director of Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership
• Anne White – head of international Trade & Compliance, Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce
• Andrea Walker, Export Finance Advisor from UK Export and Finance
• Peter Wright, international trade advisor from UK Trade and Investment

A business panel discussion took place as the penultimate event to discuss ’Anglo Africa Trade Relations. The panellists included Paddy Docherty – Chief Executive of Phoenix Africa who specialises in investing in Agriculture. Also in attendance was Chantelé Carrington who represented Price Waterhouse Cooper Africa Business Group (ABG) to explain how companies in the UK can invest successfully in Africa.
The discussion was chaired by the Rt. Hon. MP for Reading West Alok Sharma: “Six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa, which is forecast to outpace the world economy by almost 2% until the end of the decade. I say to our Friends attending from Africa and African-based businesses, you are in absolutely the right region if you want to meet British businesses with a “can-do” attitude who want to work with you in expanding Anglo-African bi-lateral trade and investment.

A ‘Dragon’s Den’ business panel pitching session took place with 4 high profile investors who provided feedback and chose to invest time and finance in new and existing businesses.

Therefore, the Afro Expo team can excitedly reveal that:
• Be:zen soft drinks company has been operating since October 2013. The new venture has secured a business mentor to help revise the business plan, gain credibility in the beverage market and network with industry contacts to achieve a stronger place in the market.

• EFB Industries is a Nigerian based planation company that produces palm oil (that is used for soap, cosmetics and bio fuel). The company came to the expo looking for technical partners and a buyer for their husk by-product. 2 potential deals were agreed for financial investment and project funding.

We are delighted to know that the expo helped to secure business financial investments, networking and collaborations between the UK and Africa.

The Afro Expo team are now looking forward to the future. It is our pleasure to announce that Global energy company Naanovo has formally agreed to sponsor the event in 2015 and we look forward to working with the international company.

The event was masterminded by Nigerian born and Reading Berkshire based Ngozi Fakeye. Ngozi is the founder of Motherland Connects, a platform that facilitates bridges the gap between Africa and the UK.

Ngozi says “we are delighted and grateful for the support from our MP Alok Sharma in organising the First ever Anglo African Trade Expo in Reading. It was a resounding success and we are looking forward to the 2015 exposition”.

For more updates – the event was trending on Twitter under the name ‘#Afrobiz2014’ – see Twitter and
Facebook: for all the photos, quotes and updates from the two day event.