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Entrepreneurs get inspiration in Denmark

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Three local youth-led enterprises had an opportunity to join hundreds other international youth-led enterprises in Copenhagen, Denmark at the Creative Business Cup International Final, and are back to make an impact in Botswana. Creative Business Cup is the global initiative for entrepreneurship and innovation that supports startups, connects entrepreneurs to investors and global markets. The three are Martin De Klerk Moatshe of IFirsh, Donald Ramotshebe of Medmall Africa and Leungo Tebogo of Ba Hana Farmers Market.

IFirsh

Martin De Klerk Moatshe runs Ifirsh, a technology company that develops Applications. The company has developed an app that refines purchase processes and does among others; purchasing analytics, provides information on where ‘your’ customers are and how much they spend. The app also sources customers strategically and manages them. According to Moatshe, the trip to Copenhagen came at the right time when they were seeking an international audience for their app. “This app is relevant to the current environment in both private companies and governments, especially now that governments are implementing e-government strategies,” Moatshe told Sun Business. This app is expected to optimise operations and promote transparency in procurement in government especially at lower levels. “This opens the market to even SMEs. For example, if a government department needs stationery worth P5 000, there is a transparent process where this procurement can take place.” Moatshe said in Copenhagen there is a high level of belief in startup businesses as key drivers of the economy from key stakeholders like government, investors and incubators. IFirsh is now working on setting up a startup in one of Europe’s leading tech countries after they had fruitful discussions with the country’s ambassador in Denmark who found their app to be relevant as an e-governance solution. “Now that we are back in Botswana we are working on repackaging our platform, making it more robust, increasing it’s functionality and build traction to it. The Business Cup is a great platform for all entrepreneurs because there is an international community out there that will help you develop your business model and put you on the map.”

 

Medmall Africa

Medmall connects doctors and patients and brings critical health care information to people in rural areas by creating content catering to their needs. Medmall representative in Denmark, Donald Ramotshebe said in an interview that going to Copenhagen was a good and rare opportunity that enabled him to rub shoulders with other hi-tech young entrepreneurs from around the world. “It was encouraging and motivating. I learnt a lot about what other people are doing to change the world, one startup at a time,” he said. One thing that Ramotshebe realised is that the level of competition in the area of technology and innovation in Europe is high. “I learnt that I cannot do projects with a monoscope of Botswana, but I need to think big and cater for global scale,” Ramotshebe said. While in Copenhagen, Ramotshebe met a local medical team that seeks ways of effectively and efficiently sorting medications in facilities and discussed possibilities of collaborating. “Now that we are in 2018, I am hoping for great opportunities of working with them going forward,” he said. Ramotshebe found the networking sessions to be beneficial as he met different people from startups, entrepreneurship partners and investors. “Some of the insights I got from the trip are ways in which to make my startup concept better and get it ready for market. I also got insights from other entrepreneurs on which markets to focus on.”

 

Ba Hana Farmers Market

The highlight of the Copenhagen trip for Leungo Tebogo of Ba Hana Farmers Market was the bootcamp. This is where they met and interacted with several other young entrepreneurs from other countries. They were taught vital skills of running global businesses and running startups in workshops and sessions that were designed to suit each entrepreneur. There was also a market day where winners exhibited in a global expo. Ba Hana Farmers Market is an outdoor grocery store that gives local startups a platform to showcase their products. It helps farmers and other entrepreneurs in the agricultural value chain to grow from small scale to large scale. They provide a unique platform where farmers get the opportunity to sell directly to their market and interact with other entrepreneurs and share skills and experiences. One thing that Tebogo learnt from Copenhagen is the fusion of technology and agriculture, which she plans to implement in Botswana over time. “We managed to form relations with other young people who are in similar businesses like us and were exposed to unconventional farming methods, which we believe could help us and even our clients deal with the current challenges of agriculture in Botswana,” Tebogo said. Tebogo encourages every entrepreneur especially startups to never let such great opportunities go without giving them the best shot. “Creative Business Cup is a great way to give your startup the necessary push in the right direction.”

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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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