Batswana are left with less than two weeks to go before the official opening of the much anticipated Botswana SMME conference and fair 2009. The fair is designed to acquire the position of a one-stop shopping environment for local SMMEs.
The official opening date is expected to be the 16th of April which kickstarts with an opening breakfast ceremony that would be officiated at by the vice-president, Mompati Merafhe.
The exhibition stands will be displayed from the 16th to the 18th of April and the public will be invited to attend on the 18th, which will also be the award dinner night.
The fair, which happens to be the brainchild of the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) is said to be receiving a tremendous amount of support from LEA stakeholders.
Local companies, such as BTC, FNB, Barclays, and Mascom amongst others, have opted to sponsor particular events at the fair.
LEA has invited different delegates from as far away places such as Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, South-Africa, Mozambique, and Geneva, amongst others.
Zimbabwe is still the only country that is yet to confirm its attendance at this year’s fair.
Amongst the speakers invited is one who will explain and present to Batswana some of the vast opportunities that will be available to SMMEs during the 2010 soccer World Cup to be held in South Africa.
The criterion used by LEA to choose speakers was apparently guided by their experiences in particular fields and their visible capabilities. According to LEA’s Director of SMME, Bokete Mokgosi, although it wasn’t initially planned that way, the conference is structured in such a way that SMMEs will be interacting with one another on a regional level as most of the delegates coming will be from countries in southern Africa.
Amongst the local speakers will be a representative from CEDA, VPB and Debswana.
Mokgosi said the main purpose behind the strategy is to familiarize local SMMEs with the local and regional market first before they become exposed to the international one.
“Probably in the near future we will be able to invite speakers from other countries to address our audience provided their SMMEs complement ours,” said Mokgosi.
They have, however, resorted to inviting different embassies from all over the globe to attend the conference and experience the talents bought projected by Botswana’s SMMEs.
That way the ambassadors can familiarize their countries with Botswana’s market developments concerning small businesses that might be moving along similar lines as theirs.
A series of hands-on practical workshops are to be carried out with the assistance of professionals in different fields. Companies like BNPC, BURS, BIH and BDC will be expected to lend a hand in the proceedings of the workshop.
The participating SMMEs will also stand a chance to interact directly with potential buyers from a series of buyer-seller forums that will be conducted at the fair.