Over 11,000 Attend Expo Belize Market Place 2023
Over eleven thousand people attended the Expo Belize Market Place 2023. That’s the latest update from the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which was issued today. The BCCI has been holding such events for 27 years, and just as years prior, Belizeans came out in droves for the two-day event, enduring sweltering heat to find good deals on a variety of products. Kori Leslie, Marketing and Communications Manager for the BCCI, said that the event fell shy of the thirteen thousand visitors target the Chamber was hoping for but it was still successful and had excellent reviews.
Kory Leslie, Marketing and Public Relations Manager, BCCI: “We enjoyed what we consider to be another successful Expo for 2023. 27 years in and we’re still learning a lot. We’re still experiencing a lot of growth but it’s good to see that the Expo has become such a common thing for the Belizeans that they still come out in droves, you know, despite the weather, despite any other conditions they still come out to support and that’s one of the main objectives we have. So we were just under our mark. We had over 11,000 visitors visiting through the two days. What was surprising for us to see was that the Saturday had a bit more action than the Sunday, which is the opposite of what we normally see. But I mentioned the weather a little bit ago and I would imagine that may have played a role in the Sunday numbers being a little less than projected. Nonetheless, the usual pattern was seen with people coming more in the evening. They trickled in throughout the morning and the early afternoon but around four o’clock, between four and six on the two days, we saw a big surge of people coming in. A lot of kids were out there which is good because we had our kids corner. We had our entertainers, we had the live DJs bringing that enjoyment to everyone throughout the afternoon. So yes, we did miss the mark a little bit, but we just take note of it and try to see how we can improve and grow for next year.”
Leslie said that there were a hundred and fifty businesses represented at the Expo’s two hundred and eleven booths. He stressed that ninety-one of those booths, forty-three percent of the vendors, were micro businesses. Leslie said that the chamber is committed to the development of small businesses in Belize and uses the expo as one of the ways to provide practical support to these businesses.
Kory Leslie, Marketing and Public Relations Manager, BCCI: “The chamber is micro business friendly. Our triple C philosophy is to connect, to capacitate and to champion and a lot of that entails working with smaller companies because those who are more established they tend to have their market, they tend to understand that market and they tend to understand the trends of their market. So they know more or less how to appeal to who they are trying to get to. Smaller businesses now they are a little more vulnerable in that light where they need the assistance. They need guidance and they need sometimes a play by play on how to get to their market, how to put themselves out there and what people will respond positively to. So the expo is one of those big stages where we give the smaller businesses that platform to showcase themselves alongside those who are already known in the public. Because if you put everyone on the same playing field, you get that crowd coming in and they can enjoy the fresh faces and the experienced faces and it creates a unison in the market. So 91 micro businesses that’s of course a great majority out of the amount that were out there and that’s because we continue to strive to make the businesses grow in the sense that they learn something, they build relationships with their customers and with people in their field. They get to see in real time how bigger businesses are doing it so they can say, okay next time I come back I can be better, I can do it like that person, I can do it like that entity and they gain value not just from the sales they’re making but they gain experience so that they come back bigger and stronger.”
The BCCI also held competitions for the various booths at the expo, with CK Girls winning Best Overall Booth, Hey Abbz winning Best Youth Entrepreneur, Ashlee’s Baked Creations winning Best Micro Booth, and Belize Electricity Limited winning the People’s Choice award.