PE business aims to shine in Big Apple

With a flair for trendy home decor, Port Elizabeth entrepreneur Rachel Nieuwoudt will head to New York this week with hopes of igniting a larger international clientele.
Nieuwoudt, 35, and 16 other SA businesspeople, was selected by the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) and department of trade and industry to attend the NY NOW winter 2019 market.
NY NOW is the largest retail-facing exhibition in the Americas.
The event, from February 3-6 at the Jacob K Javits Center in New York City, will host 2,300 exhibitors.
Nieuwoudt, who with her husband operates Godspeed Trading from their home in Greenshields Park, will showcase various flat-pack lighting designs that the pair created from scratch.
Flat pack refers to a collapsible design that packs flat for shipping and can be easily assembled by customers.
The ideas, drawings, prototypes and final products are all developed in the couple’s home study and garage.
“We started the business with the intention to create jobs,” Nieuwoudt said.
“Through our business model, you don’t need people who are necessarily highly educated, but are more creative.
“Our designs are very modern and our products mostly appeal to young and trendy buyers or just anyone who isn’t afraid to shop online.” While Nieuwoudt does not employ anyone else at present, she said the business was “back in the growing phase”.
She hopes attending the trade show will spur interest in their lighting products from consumers across the globe.
“The retail renaissance has brought dynamic change and real opportunity to the independent retailer, and just like the market it serves, NY NOW is transforming,” event director Kevin O’Keefe said.
“NY NOW will be the event where premier retailers find innovative, unique and distinctive products, experience creative expressions by the top designers, and learn what success looks like from those who are living it now.”
The event is expected to host 23,000 buyers from about 66 countries.
The 17 entrepreneurs have been progressed through Seda’s Export Readiness Development Programme and have been deemed ready for the export market by the Export Readiness Assessment Tool.
Seda’s communication and media manager, Boy Ndala, said the aim of the project was to provide local SMME manufacturers and suppliers with an opportunity to showcase their products to global markets.
Other aims were to grow SA’s export base, grow opportunities for SMMEs, provide entrepreneurs with access to international markets, source new suppliers, products, information and services and, finally, benchmark their products and services against international competitors.
The project, Ndala said, was funded by the trade and industry department.
“We expect SMMEs to generate sales and long-term international networks, and also assist SMMEs to access new markets,” he said...

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