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Young graduate beads while job hunting

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Agang Bakwena, 23, has decided to venture into small business to avoid becoming a statistic among the 87 000 unemployed graduates in the country. Bakwena holds a Degree in Business Entrepreneurship and Leadership, yet to graduate from Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) soon and she is of the view that small businesses are much better than awaiting jobs.

The young entrepreneur utilised an opportunity at the recent Pottery and Beading workshop organised for women in Jwaneng. She took part in beading and immediately learnt her lesson so well which she says will sustain her in future. “This is going to be my part time job while I continue with job hunting. I have decided to use the skills acquired from the course because I have learnt how to manage a business,” she said. She is grateful to Jwaneng mine for bringing such an opportunity to change people’s lives.

“Staying at home doing nothing really pains because as graduates we end up giving up in life forgetting that we can still improve the economy of the country than depending on our qualifications and government jobs,” she said adding that young graduates should stand up to do something that could bring in money and change lives. She caught Sun Business’ attention with her ready-made work which she learnt just in one day. Her teacher, Siphiwe Mushabi said that she started beading in 2008, when she realised that locals buy these products from South Africa.

“If we unite and continue beading different products we might as well open a trust and also export like other countries and even sell to tourists,” she said adding that Debswana touches their lives in different ways. Bakwena has already taken in some orders. As the starting point she will be focusing on neck pieces and head ropes. “I have already noticed that these two are in high demand in the market so far. So I will be doing ear rings and wrist bands only if someone orders them,” she explained.

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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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