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Ten graduate from ODC entrepreneurship programme

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 Okavango Diamonds Company (ODC) held its second youth entrepreneurship graduation on Friday. The annual programme, which is a partnership with Stellenbosch University, has seen 10 youth graduating this year. Speaking during the graduation ceremony, ODC CEO, Frik Landman urged the young entrepreneurs to be creative and innovative so that they can benefit from the diamond industry. Landman said entrepreneurs should keep learning to develop their skills and understand market trends. “As an entrepreneur you have to go out there and look for relevant information.

I urge all our graduates to have courage to keep pressing until they succeed, entrepreneurship is about being determined to win no matter the rejections or disappointments,” he said. The programme was established in 2016 with the aim to empower young people and allow citizens to participate in the diamond industry. Landman explained that the graduates were taken through seven months of intensive training and were challenged to develop their business ideas. “Each student was challenged to conceptualise their business idea and present it to the panel of industry leaders.

Through this training programme we are sure that we have equipped these young people with skills and ideas to come up with solutions to the industry,” Landman said. ODC Board Member, Dr Khaulani Fichani said entrepreneurship is one of the key inputs in economic development, as it will help the society to combat unemployment. “The country has ventured into diversification of diamond value chain. We now have cutting, polishing and retailing. There is great opportunity for entrepreneurs and the youth.

They just need to be creative and innovative,” said Fichani ODC has invested over P2 million in the programme in the past two years. One of the gradauates, Totwana Tito Chimbise said she is empowered by the programme to become an entrepreneur. “I am a physiotherapist by profession but through the knowledge and skills I acquired from this training I am determined to become an entrepreneur and be a solution provider in the diamond industry,” said Chimbise. Bonolo Phaladze said the training has enabled her to identify her strengths in business operation and she is now going to collaborate with other graduates. “As an entrepreneur you have to know your co-anchors in your business. I have identified two other graduates within our team and we will work as partners in the business that we started through inspiration from this training,” she said.

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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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