The Chief Executive Officer at the Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM), Maria Machailo-Ellis, has called upon government to free up the economy to help Botswana sustain growth, create jobs , develop the private sector in communities and lift people out of poverty.
Addressing women at the 14 Women Exposition, Machailo-Ellis said she believes that a vibrant private sector holds the key to Botswana’s economic future, including the future of women-owned enterprises.
“As a country, we should reduce administrative and regulatory barriers to start-ups, particularly for women-owned businesses,” said Machailo-Ellis. These barriers include excessive red tape, time delays in approving permits, labour market regulations and legal requirements.
She implored government, to create an environment that will allow women entrepreneurs to fulfill their dreams. MachailoÔÇôEllis boasted that, over the years, the private sector, through the market mechanism, has proved its worth in allocating resources and delivering prosperity to all, including communities.
“Markets make things that are needed for basic living more affordable by reducing their overall price. In the process, everyone, including women, the poor, urban and rural communities benefit significantly from price reductions,” she said.
She said entrepreneurship is one reliable solution to the problems of unemployment and proper utilization of both human and non-human resources and improving the living condition of the poor.
MachailoÔÇôEllis hailed the development of women‘s products over the years but said that what is left is opening up a niche market for these women.
“We are talking about markets in the region and overseas, particularly where the value of our products can be realized,” she said.
She called upon the formation and strengthening of women entrepreneurs network. “Women entrepreneur networks are major sources of knowledge about women’s entrepreneurship, and they are increasingly recognized as a valuable tool for its development and promotion,” said Machailo -Ellis.
Machailo -Ellis discouraged reliance on government handouts, saying self-reliance and lifting yourself by your own bootstraps are important attributes in business. Relying repeatedly on government handouts is not the road to wealth creation.