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Queen Elizabeth II inspired hats a fashion craze locally

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Driven by the love for hats, Millinery Miller Founder and Director, youthful Keletso Lobelo realised that she can run a sustainable business and also share her skills with other people. She told the Business Trends that she started the business from her own resources assisted by her aunt.

“I basically had P9 000, it included the course that I took and to buy material. “But now the required fee would be P20 000 or more due to the material it’s expensive and the course fee has increased as well,” she said. She ventured into the millinery industry after noting Queen Elizabeth hats which she realised were unique and outstanding. Growing up she had always wanted to have the collection of hats with different styles.

She enrolled in fashion design course for three weeks before she registered her company. “ I ventured into this millinery industry after seeing Queen Elizabeth hats which I realised give women dignity and honour. “Soon after that I noticed that the millinery hat fashion was penetrating the market as a lot of women putting on the millinery hats at the Durban July horse Derby, Cape Town Derby in South Africa,” said Lobelo.

Lobelo studied Computerized Accounting (Pastel) and she is currently studying AAT. “With the gift of hand work am now able to design by looking at an outfit and know how it blends well with the full attire,” she said. Her major clients include Fashion Icons, bridal teams and church congregants. Her prices start from P250 for fascinators and P500 for hats depending on the designs and quality. Among the challenges she said market penetration is not easy as many people are not familiar with the new style of hats. “It’s not easy to penetrate the market because I am introducing a different style to Batswana.

Now I am working hard to convince them to buy,” said Lobelo. She markets her products through social media platforms and is able to reach more people through the mediums.She has participated in the Youth Business Expos, Miss Botswana 2015 fashion show she will also showcase her products at the 2017 Global Expo and Lao Glam fashion show in Namibia. In future she wants to own her millinery couture and manufacturing sinammay material that is used for millinery hats.

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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