Along with their core operations, businesses in Botswana have to target two important factors, having a solid on-line presence and an airtight strategy of establishing linkages with international trade.
This is important not only because of the sweeping tide of globalisation but also because restricting operations to Botswana’s small market is suicidal, much like breaking a bridge but still remaining confident of crossing over. Businesses, especially small and medium sized enterprises, need to equip themselves with export market tools so as to successfully penetrate international markets, the result of which will bolster their operations. Therefore when opportunities emerge for them to develop new markets, it is in the best interest of local businesses to assess how such a move can benefit their operations. Business Botswana, formerly known as BOCCIM, last week introduced an export market tool, called The Chamber Trust Seal, which provides a traceable international presence for local businesses.
Through the initiative, businesses will obtain a business to business verification seal, which through the Chamber Trust’s search engine; will enable businesses around the world to easily locate the registered business whose existence, profile, products and services have been verified by a Chamber of Commerce. Chamber Trust is a World Chamber Federation which facilitates global exposure through the World Chambers Network site and is regarded as the only official global interconnection of chambers of commerce on the web. Local businesses will be able to exploit the benefits of registering in this network only if they have an online presence. However if businesses do not have websites as yet the Chamber Trust provides its website as the business’ home base.
This exposure is targeted at any existing business with special attention to small and medium sized enterprises. Business Botswana encourages both members and non-members to register for the verification seal so as to benefit from the global exposure. Prices for subscription are specified based on affiliation with Business Botswana. A paid-up member can expect to pay P800, a non-paid member P1, 200 and a non-member P1, 600. Subscription for the verification seal expires on a year-to-year basis at the anniversary of subscription.
The new service is anticipated to improve efforts of making local businesses export ready. This is due to the fact that the existence and long standing presence of organizations such as Botswana Export and Manufacturing Association (BEMA) and Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) also provide useful foreign contacts and international networking opportunities.
BEMA and BITC use platforms such as exhibitions, conferences and buyer-seller programmes which physically market local products to regional and international markets, which might perhaps be regarded as a distinct difference to the online marketing that Business Botswana introduced. It goes without saying that a concerted effort is needed to buoy penetration into regional and international markets particularly because intra-trade in Africa is significantly lower than in other continents.