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Anija Fashions ready for global market

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Anita Jacob sees the textile industry as an unexplored market by citizens and is determined to explore and penetrate it. Her company Anita Fashions which started in 2008 specialises in protective clothing, sportswear and school uniforms.

Jacob told Business Trends she is working on building the organisational structure to international standards so that she can start exporting this year. “I want to export my products to the international markets, by next year I will no longer be an SME but I’ll be ranking in the medium scale,” said Jacob. She saw this business opportunity while still a teacher and started the business through Financial Assistance Policy (FAP) in 2001 as a part time business.

“I discovered that only foreigners were leading the textile sector and I wanted to take advantage as a citizen,” said Jacob. She is currently targeting the government sector and the mining sector in Botswana. Jacob wants to take Botswana manufactured clothing to the international market as this would promote local skills. She has been trained through Tokafala programme and is being mentored by Women Enterprise Development. She said there is a lot of opportunity for local textile manufacturers in the international market but they still need to grow.

She said the quality of the material she uses for clothing is the one specified by the international market but that she is not yet capacitated to supply. “I was once offered a tender under AGOA but I turned it down because I was still small. They required 100 000 units per month,” she said.

At the time she was operating from Tonota but is currently looking for space in Gaborone or surrounding areas. She has been audited by Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) and is targeting 25 employees when she starts operating in the new structure. Jacob said she is currently marketing her products in the government and private schools to take advantage of Bots50 celebrations.

“I am currently submitting my profile in the schools because I want to supply them with Bots 50 clothing as the students are supposed to wear the brand,” she said. Among the challenges Jacob mentions shortage of skills, especially among the graduates. “We need people to work with, so we are always having a problem of skills mismatch among the graduates.

When we engage them we have to take some months again training them and this slows production,” she said. They also have problems with local suppliers and so she buys her materials from South Africa.

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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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