Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the lifeblood of South Africa, not only as a significant employer but also making up at least half of the country's GDP (gross domestic product). 

The ICT industry has long recognised the value of the SME market – most vendors have specific products and programmes targeting this sector – but reaching this vast and scattered market has always been a challenge.
Meanwhile, SMEs themselves have not always perceived ICT as a core need for their business and have traditionally not been fast technology adapters.
However, this could be changing as a number of factors influence the future of both technology and the small business in South Africa.
While technology has become more affordable, it also allows small companies to achieve a global footprint never before possible, says Jo Melville, MD of Futurex & Equip organiser Exhibitions for Africa.
Meanwhile, the promise of a massive influx of tourists for the 2010 Soccer World Cup will be a major boost to SMEs around the country – but only if they seize the opportunities.
"The hospitality industry is one of the largest in terms of SMEs," says Melville, "and it's also one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country.
"Even without 2010, people do still visit the country – and how many more will 2010 attract? It's important for SMEs involved in the travel, tourism and hospitality industries to be online and to be efficient – and that means they have to be looking at how ICT can help them."
This year Futurex & Equip will make it easy for SMEs to find literally everything they need under one roof, from office furniture to stationery, from mobile communications to fully-fledged IT solutions.
"SMEs need technology, but they also need other things so we're going to provide them with everything, from the basics right up to the high-tech servers," says Melville.
Information and communications technology will be available in the form of mobile devices, notebook computers, PCs, servers, networking, printers and other office equipment, she says.
Forms Media Independent has signed up for Futurex & Equip offering “The Complete Office Solution” and will be offering a range of office furniture suitable for offices from  the SME  to the corporate market .
Forms Media Independent will also be on hand, with stationery /consumables and Media  to assist with any and all print requirements  you may have.
Ensuring the SME visitors come along to Futurex & Equip, Exhibitions for Africa is mobilising its considerable reach into other industries, particularly hospitality, by undertaking a massive marketing campaign to companies and individuals in vertical markets.
"For instance, 80% of the attendees at our recent Hostex exhibition are SMEs, and they're all looking for ways to improve their efficiency and occupancy rates," says Melville.
Exhibitions for Africa maintains and manages a database of over 150 000 exhibition visitors across various industries including hospitality, manufacturing, engineering, security ,  IT , retail and marketing to name but a few.
Futurex & Equip will be held from 15 – 18 May 2007 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.