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A novel car wash and money spinner

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Thatayaone Otukile, 22, decided after three years of hard toil at a car wash in Game City, to take a bold step and start his own similar business – Wash Works Botswana.

He needed P70 000 to start the business, money he didn’t have. But as fate would have it, a benefactor (a regular client at his former employer) provided some three quarters of the start-up capital so that he had to find the remaining quarter.

And much sooner – last year January to be precise – he started trading under his new business name offering car wash services, carpets cleaning and sofas. Otukile told Business Trends in an interview that he was motivated to start a cleaning services business because he found it to be viable with prospects for profits. Further, it provided him an opportunity to become an employer.

Currently he has four employees. Explaining how the business idea came about, he said that one of their regular clients at the car wash in Game City called him one day to wash his cars at home. “After I did the job he was very impressed with my services and he asked me to consider it as a business and he also helped me with some finances to start up,” said Otukile.

A mobile car wash service, says Otukile, is more profitable than the static car one and is much more profitable because, “We do not wait for customers in the workplace but we go to them, therefore we never run short of customers,” said Otukile.

On average he can have eight to 10 customers per day.  He said service charges range from P60 for normal wash and P300 for total cleaning including the engine. Among the challenges, Otukile said they have shortage of transport as the business involves travelling. “We are still a start-up. We have not yet made enough capital to buy many vehicles that we need for transport.”

Even then Otukile said they are expanding the business. He recently acquired a waterless washing machine which will help improve services. He said with the machine they could do the job easier and quicker.

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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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