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Thato Mahube wins Orange Bonatla le Botswerere challenge

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Thato Mahube of Amazing Services is this year’s winner of the Orange Botswana’s Bonatla le Botswerere Women’s Challenge. Amazing Services, a 100 percent Botswana owned company founded by Thato Mahube was crowned winner last Friday.

The WIBA affiliated company provides communications solutions and wellness events management. The winning product is an A4 sized leather folder which doubles as a card holder and diary, offering complete convenience of holding all the necessary valuables in one folder.

The competition, an initiative of Orange Foundation was launched in July and closed in September 2015. It has been running for the fifth consecutive year. The Bonatla le Botswerere Women in Business Corporate Gift Challenge, targets all women entrepreneurs and SMMEs.

The competition’s primary objective is to provide local women an opportunity to design and produce corporate gifts, which Orange then buys in bulk for its stakeholders. Orange has specifically reserved a budget of P100, 000 to buy the gifts from Amazing Services.

This initiative is one of Orange’s many women empowerment initiatives aimed at boosting women SMMEs, given the challenges that they face as small businesses operating in the country.  In addition to the P100 000 worth of supplies to Orange, Amazing Services will get additional benefits.

“Her company gets to enjoy free opportunities to exhibit her products at different platforms facilitated by Orange Foundation. So this is a great opportunity for women such as Mahube who are trying to grow their businesses and penetrate the market,” says Orange PR and Foundation Manager Boga Chilinde-Masebu. 

Since the beginning of the initiative in 2012, over 100 candidates from all over Botswana have participated, with 52 entries having been received for this year’s competition alone. These are women involved in different areas such as arts and crafts, fashion design, textiles, bakery, body and beauty, food and beverages, upholstery and linen making.

According to Chilinde-Masebu, the 52 submitted proposals went through an internal evaluation process to select the winner. “The main focus points for evaluation criteria covered among others; creativity, innovation, craftsmanship, usefulness of the proposed product and durability. The fundamental selection criterion was based on the applicant ability to demonstrate that they manufacture or make the products themselves,” she says.

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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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