A Vintage Colette Adventure in Turkey
The Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum (WVEF) is an international event co-hosted by the International Trade Center (ITC) and Kagider (Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey), in partnership with several organizations. The aim of this premier global event is to inspire female entrepreneurs through trainings and face-to-face meetings with buyers.
Priority Areas Also Included:
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Business Services
Textiles and Garments
Following a competitive process, Vintage Colette was selected to participate in the 2016 Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum (WVEF 2016) which took place on the 23rd to the 24th of February 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. Out of 650 applications received from 68 countries, my company was chosen to attend this dynamic business forum.
As part of WVEF2017, some of the privileges I was exposed to included:
– Web-based training courses between July 2016 and the Feb 2017 event.
– Facilitated B2B meetings during the forum;
– Online networking with other WVEF participants through an exclusive online tool.
– On-site mentoring and training from sector specialists.
– Participation of corporations’ procurement officers;
– Opportunities to establish business relationships with corporations and other inspirational businesswomen from all corners of the world.
In addition to the capacity building and business to business meetings that women entrepreneurs have traditionally benefited from through WVEF in the past, this year’s event included a focus on investment and innovation.
I was so glad that my trip was smooth and that the hotel was great as well. As soon as I arrived Istanbul on February 22nd, I met with other Nigerians and immediately decided to have brunch at the sea side restaurant, Hamdi (graciously recommended by the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria). We then proceeded to get some local coffee and tea and a little bit of souvenirs. In the evening, we went for a 3- hour boat cruise with wonderful entertainment and even better cuisine.
The forum kicked off the following morning to a great start with the opening ceremony, parallel session and one-on-one meetings with buyers and suppliers. There I met with wonderful fabric sourcing contacts. A Gala night was held in the evening with Turkish folklore entertainment and a Mediterranean cuisine that would leave you begging for more. I went to sleep almost immediately after the gala. I was still jet-lagged.
Day 2 of the forum was more about increased communication with the buyers and also a lot of networking. It finally rounded up by 5:00pm in the evening. We then took a trip to the cosmetic stores and did some Turkish retail shopping with the local brands.
Ahhh…. The day of departure finally arrived. Ahhh. Since our flight wasn’t till evening, we set off to the Grand Bazaar where we put our bargaining expertise as Nigerians to the test. The energy at the entrance, security screening and the overall structure of the market (clean and organized) was outstanding. Definitely worth taking a walk to the different aisles with their amazing window displays. I couldn’t leave without buying the tea cups and more souvenirs.
It was then time to dash back to the hotel and the airport, which we made on time before the relentless and endless walk to our boarding gate. I couldn’t sleep a wink on board until 30 minutes to landing and my God…..the Abuja Airport runway reminded me that I was back in Nigeria.
Turkey…..so much to do so little time for a 4-day business trip. Can’t wait to go back and explore more (hopefully the dollar to naira exchange rate would be favorable)…….soon I hope.