The Botswana Confederation of Commerce and Manpower (BOCCIM) has encouraged its members to unlock potential opportunities and partnerships by participating at the annual Botswana consumer fair, which starts tomorrow (Monday).
BOCCIM Communications and Public Relations Manager, Komissa Burzlaff, told Sunday Standard that by participating in various platforms, BOCCIM members will have the opportunity to create brand, product and service awareness, including networking and business exploration.
Burzlaff highlighted that a number of benefits can be derived from participation, especially potential trade linkages, market research, competition analysis and client profiling. She said that BOCCIM itself will be participating at the consumer fair to reconnect with its members as well as to provide information to the public on the mandate of BOCCIM and how the business community can affiliate with the confederation.
“In order to diversify new products that have export potential, and in some instances, substitution potential, (contact with customers) need to be developed,” she said.
Burzlaff observed that the fair gives an opportunity for businesses, especially small micro businesses to build on their business models, develop their market strategies, emphasize their brand and connect to the right purchasers and suppliers.
Burzlaff stated that the business intelligence that is likely to be gained will help build the necessary business models and strategies to grow a business. She added that this, of course, can contribute to the bigger picture of diversification. She further said that there are a number of small businesses that need to participate at the fair and, with the right approach, can gain tremendously.
“Through the EDD process, BOCCIM has come into contact with a number of small businesses, given the right tools and platforms, have the potential to expand into the SADC region,” said Burzlaff.
She was optimistic that having foreign businesses exhibit, also opens doors for potential trade, specifically for Botswana-based manufacturers and suppliers. She added that it can also be a cost saving benefit for businesses to meet right here in Botswana instead of having to incur expenses of travelling out of the country in pursuit of business.
“The consumer fair can even grow into a major tourism event for Botswana, and that certainly will be a bonus to the tourism sector and for business in general,” she stated.
Burzlaff further stated that BOCCIM recognized the market changes and the effect on business in general and appreciated that SMME’s may eventually be left in worse conditions, “hence, our move towards a different strategic direction”.
She highlighted that SMME’s face a number of challenges most of which are not confined to Botswana alone; these are shared across the globe. She said access to finance, unfriendly bureaucratic business procedures and lack of business information, such as market data, are the biggest challenges.
The Fairgrounds Holdings this year is expected to introduce a Small Business Forum (SBF) targeting young entrepreneurs and out of school youth during the upcoming annual Botswana Consumer Fair in Gaborone.