The COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for innovation for all industries across the globe, but in many cases this innovation was sorely needed way before the advent of the pandemic, and the trade exhibitions industry was no exception.

Traditional in person trade exhibitions have been historically expensive, effectively restricting participation of smaller businesses and start-ups. Additionally, African B2B marketers are demonstrably underserved and see little value in advertising in B2B marketing initiatives that offer no quantifiable ROI. Virtual event licensing from virtual event owner providers is also expensive and these costs are then passed on to
virtual exhibitors.

This was ultimately the catalyst that inspired John Thompson, Titus Baloyi, and I (Stephen Oehley) to create Xtendevent.com, with a vision to establish our virtual event platform as the leading one-stop destination in Africa for trade buyers to attend conferences, network and engage brands and suppliers as manufacturers, brand managers as well as trade marketing and sales professionals.

We consider Africa the ideal region to launch our platform, not only due to the lack of service and disparate silos within the B2B sector across Africa, but also due to the sharp increase in digitally focussed innovators evidenced by the increasing number of incubators and the rise in investment interest in African start-ups.

Xtendevent is a virtual trade show platform that is proven to deliver custom environments for organisers of virtual/hybrid conferences and exhibitions, their speakers, exhibitors, visitors, and conference attendees. Xtendevent now serves as a portal to our own industry focussed virtual trade shows and attendant conferences. Open 24/7, 365 days a year, these virtual B2B environments enable the B2B professional to join industry specific shows of interest, attend conferences, source products, submit and manage product specific RFQs, video call exhibitors, network with
like-minded individuals and communities, and share the journey into the future of the industry sector.

In comparison to other B2B media and portals, Xtendevent visitors can
use a single login to attend any sector-specific sector show and consensual
and detailed buyer leads are tracked and made available to exhibitors. In
addition, Xtendevent is not constrained by third party virtual platform
provider license fees or extended event durations that increase license fees
and, as a result, offer remarkably competitive virtual exhibitor pricing.
We consider ourselves both innovators and innovation enablers. We have
identified the platform’s unique niche within the market since there are no other cohesive platforms for B2B continuity across the African continent,
making the platform itself an innovation. The platform also functions as an
innovation enabler as it, by merit of its affordability, gives small businesses
and start-ups equal opportunity alongside seasoned brand managers
from established companies to promote their companies and bring their
innovations into relevant markets.

To date Xtendevent is a finalist in Demo Africa, Step Up Technology and Hack Jozi competitions and we owe this to our talented team members and visionaries that helped make this dream a reality. Our sales director Nicholas Oehley is particularly instrumental to our success contributing his global management learning and skills and proven track record as an exceptional sales performer.

Looking forward we are pleased to say that we will be able to partner with businesses across African countries in the foreseeable future and make use of AI to personalise user experiences. We believe that the next innovation that will change this industry will be Artificial Intelligence. AI will enable the prediction of virtual attendee behaviour to create personalized virtual experiences. Customer-centric experiences will create a deeper connection with brands and result in a richer, more memorable experience for the prospect, perhaps even shortening the sales cycle.

We are especially excited that this is an affordable opportunity for start-ups across various industries and that we will be enabling the next generation of innovators to share their greatness with the world.


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