By Kealeboga Pule – Nungu Diamonds
JCK Las Vegas & New York, June/ July 2018
Under the banner of the beneficiation project and with the support of De Beers, myself (Kealeboga Pule) and fellow project members Molefi Letsiki, Jo Mathole and Khomotso Ramodipa attended the 2018 JCK show held in Las Vegas – one of the world’s biggest diamond and jewellery trade fairs.
At the end of the show, on our way home we were able to visit to New York, where we were able to gain an understanding of the diamond market there.
For all of us it had been a life-long dream to visit America, even more so to attend the Las Vegas show.
The intention of the trip was to seek customers for our polished diamond production; those customers that would buy into our unique stories as black entrepreneurs in the diamond industry, operating in a producer country – particularly within the context that “diamonds doing good” can play a key role in developing consumer confidence.
We were able to present our businesses to numerous companies using the skills we have learned and honed during the two years we have been part of the Raizcorp entrepreneurial and business skills development programme, which forms an integral part of the project.
Las Vegas gave us the chance to network and build relationships and our proposition was generally well received. We also had the opportunity to attend a number of events that gave us exposure to the wider market. These included the Diamond Empowerment Fund gala dinner, the De Beers client cocktail and the Jewelers for Children gala dinner.
After having attended several other international trade fairs in previous years, the level of market exposure at the JCK Las Vegas and the interactions had by each of the project members with potential clients was by far the best and most productive to date.
At the end of the JCK Las Vegas, we travelled to New York for a series of other meetings.
I believe the trip was an overwhelming success and marks a significant turning point for the project. The lack access to markets was identified as a key barrier to the sustainable growth of diamond beneficiation. In the US we found an audience that was aligned to our business proposition.
On behalf of all us that had the pleasure to go Las Vegas and New York, I would like to thank all at De Beers that made it possible.