What began as an idea has now turned into Broward County’s premiere event that positions Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County, as the center of international trade and cultural exchange. The Florida International Trade & Cultural Expo (FITCE) returns to South Florida Oct. 9-10, at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center and is a prime example of if you dream it and build it, they will come.

FITCE was the brainchild of Vice Mayor Dale V.C. Holness, who when first elected as Broward County Commissioner in November 2010, wanted to create an event that would showcase Broward County as a viable center for international trade.

“We have an infrastructure in place that is first class; we have three excellent international airports and seaports that are also first class and can accommodate any amount of trade you can imagine,” said Holness. “We must use FITCE to help grow the economy and bring jobs to the people here in Broward County and South Florida.”

The inaugural FITCE was held Oct. 12-16, 2015. The week-long event included topics on how to grow and finance your small business; emerging markets in Africa, Asia and the Middle East; best market opportunities in Europe; and growing your business through the use of social media, along with cultural performances and business networking opportunities. Since 2015, FITCE has grown in size and scope from the amount of participating countries, attendance from local and international businesses, to corporate sponsorships with Broward College, Florida Power & Light, Nova Southeastern University, University of Miami, Port Everglades and Emirates Airlines.

FITCE has emerged into a two-day event with targeted sessions and panels including: World Leaders & Former Presidents panel. This year’s panelists include Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, former president of Costa Rica (2014-2018); Jamil Mahuad, former president of Ecuador (1998-2000); Basdeo Panday, former prime minister of Trinidad & Tobago (1995-2001); and Luis Alberto Lacalle, former president of Uruguay (1990-1995). With the American & International Buyers panel, Doing Business with the World, 11 Steps to Exporting - A Roadmap to your Exporting Success! and How to Import into the United States, attendees will receive viable information to learn how to grow their businesses.

One of the newer highlights of FITCE is the World Expo Marketplace, which will transform the Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom into a global destination giving attendees the opportunity to visit, network, sample and purchase products and services from over 240 local and international exhibitors from countries such as Guyana, Colombia, Bangladesh, India, Martinique, Gambia, Chile, and South Africa.

What sets FITCE apart from other trade expos is its free admission for attendees. For two days, attendees can learn about international trade, including how to import and export their product, sell their products and services to over 60 countries, hear from world-renowned experts, and meet government officials from around the world.

As culture is part of the name of the event, FITCE includes an exhibit hall with professional artists displaying their creations, including paintings, photography, and sculptures, with multicultural performances sprinkled throughout the event to give attendees a taste of South Florida’s diverse performance community.

Register for FITCE at www.fitcexpo.com.

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