The Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency recently sponsored a number of their clients to the BOCCIM Northern Trade Fair.
CEDA spokesman, Masegonyana Madisa, told The Sunday Standard on Thursday that the move was largely aimed at exposing their clients to the dynamics of the national and international market and also to enable them to network and mingle with other business entities.
Madisa said that they randomly selected a number of their new and existing businesses and sponsored them to the fair as a way of enabling them to rip the benefits of exposure and attain growth.
“The objective is to help our clients to grow so that they can sponsor themselves to such events in future,” he said, adding that trade fairs are important avenues through which businesses can network, seek new clients and consequently attain growth.
However, Madisa said that the sponsorship was only limited to purchasing of display stalls adding that the clients had to foot the bill for any other additional expenses. This, he said, is because they do not want to spoon feed their clients but rather to give them a platform through which they can grow, at the same time encouraging them to be self sustainable and independent in the running of their businesses. “We want our clients to foot some of the additional expenses because we always encourage them to be accountable and responsible for their businesses,” he said.
Madisa explained that in future they will make follow ups with their clients to try and establish if the exposure attained at the trade fair has in any way contributed to their growth and future success. To this end the clients have been encouraged to keep records and always ask new and existing customers where they heard about their businesses. Some of the CEDA clients that were sponsored to the trade fair include Melitta’s Biscuits, Idah Knitters and Kwaedza Investments.
Mosamaria Monyatsi of Idah Knitters said that she is very grateful for the exposure that CEDA has accorded her. She added that her main objective at the trade fair was to establish new clients who can enable her business to grow. Idah Knitters is a business that makes uniforms for school kids and working professionals. Their products range from school uniforms, jerseys and tracksuits to corporate wear and protective clothing like overalls for big industries. Monyatsi said that she has quite a number of individual customers who buy from her and she was hoping to draw the attention of big companies and corporations so that she can supply them with corporate wear and protective clothing.
Another CEDA client, Constance Khaulani of Kwaedza Investments, also said her mission was two pronged in that she was looking to get exposure to big industries that purchase in bulk and also make contacts with potential suppliers.
Kwaedza Investments is a milling company based in Mathangwane. Khaulani said that her company purchases sorghum from as far as Panda farms and Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board and then grind it, package it and sell to supermarkets and wholesalers. She started her business through financial assistance policy in 2001 and was then able to expand after getting funding from CEDA.
She added that business depends on the pricing and availability of sorghum in the market.
“Sometimes we can go for long periods without sorghum supplies, which affect our business operations. At the same time, sorghum becomes very expensive when there is limited supply and we end up overpricing ourselves out of the market,” she said.
To this end her sojourn at the trade fair was aimed at attaining bigger customers and also seeking to establish cheaper and more reliable sorghum suppliers.