Contact Fairs - A Regional BDS Product , GTZ Latin America & Caribbean, 2004

    The Central American Contact Fair, CACF (Rueda de Negocios Centroamericana) is a platform for business contacts for Central American firms (SME), BDS and financial service providers, and institutions working in the SME sector. The fairs are intended to energize intra-regional trade as a first step for SMEs to export their products. The fairs also facilitate contacts with buyers in the U.S. and Europe (mostly France, Italy, and Germany). CACF's two components include personal contact fairs in participating countries - to date, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala - and a permanent virtual contact fair.

    A major feature of CACF is software that is compatible with the website and is based on a database of everyone who participates in the fairs. The program can generate participant directories, catalogue their supply needs and demands, and generate optimized agendas for business meetings during the 1 to 2-day fair. This is accomplished by having participants or a business promoter complete a simple form and choose negotiating partners. The software maximizes the number of meetings, taking into account fixed and variable criteria and agendas for each participant contain the hour and table number for each meeting and are printed directly from the software.

    Participants subscribing to the permanent virtual fair can download directories and catalogues directly from the website, access private chat rooms, and contact other subscribers through the site's internal mailing system.

    Summary of results
    Since the CACBF product is not as advanced as the Infomipyme/ Network: Management Toolboxes product, no detailed information on financial, institutional, and technical sustainability is available. However, it is known that the person-to-person fairs are 100% sustainable and that the virtual component has a sustainability rate of 125%, a surplus of 25%. Other performance and impact data concludes that for:

    - Person-to-person contact fairs: 441 firms scheduled up to 1,200 business meetings for each of four fairs, resulting in from USD 90,000 to USD 8,078,000 in closed and projected deals.
    - Virtual contact fairs: A total of 479 firms are subscribed to the website.

    The website was, as of January 2011, no longer online.