With Easter just around the corner, those in Johannesburg will be turning their minds to the annual Rand Show, which has been a feature in the city since 1894. Of course, those who run the show year-on-year have changed as dramatically as the show has itself, and this year the Rand Show will be helmed by Adele Hartdegen, who was announced CEO of both Dogan Exhibitions and events and the Johannesburg Expo Centre in February 2020.
As Hartdegen admits, the job is a significant one as recently the legacy brand has taken something of a knock, with the trials of Covid-19 only further entrenching a decline in attendance and reputation. Hartdegen comes to the job with the skills and reputation necessary to restore the Rand Show to its former glory.
Having come to the role after five years as head of department at the global GL events group, Hartdegen’s wealth of marketing and brand development experience together with acknowledged business acumen and customer relationship building skills are precisely what Johannesburg’s most well-known expo needs.
“It’s very much my intention to ensure the Rand Show is returned to its former glory, not in visitor numbers necessarily, but definitely in restoring the credibility and value behind this amazing brand,” she explains.
She adds that building a solid brand for the event’s owners – Dogan Exhibitions and Events – is also a strong contender for her main ambition while at the helm.
And it looks like she is off to a good start. The Rand Show is famously already developing a strong focus on supporting and growing Small to Medium Business Enterprises. This year’s Rand Show has announced two significant initiatives to grow the businesses they work with.
As well as offering stall holders the chance of winning R50 000 in business development funding through their stalls in Hall 7, the Rand Show will also be hosting its first SMME Summit for stall holders. The summit aims to connect SMMEs with corporate and public sector representatives who play a role in the SMME sector through funding, training and access to the market.
It’s an unsurprising path for Hartdegen to guide the Rand Show down, given her reputation for business growth and being able to both appoint and mentor team members for the best results. As the old saying goes, “A rising tide raises all boats”, and it’s clear that businesses in South Africa would do well to assist Hartdegen in her aim of building the Rand Show into that rising tide.