The annual Botswana Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) fair and pitso preparations are at an advanced stage with a growth of local and regional participation.
LEA Director, Corporate and Stakeholder Communications, Keoagile Rafifing, revealed to The Telegraph that the Fourth Annual Fair, Pitso and Exhibition has so far attracted over 200 registered local and regional exhibitors with some coming from as far as Swaziland and South Africa.
He added that this year’s theme is “Promoting sustainable linkages for SMME Development” and said that it is very fitting in the sense that it will work towards assisting to achieve the goals or objectives of the 2nd SMME Pitso. According to Rafifing, the fair and Pitso are expected to be a platform for all stakeholders in the SMME sector to consult and collaborate on the development of the sector in Botswana.
He added that it will also help to create sustainable linkages amongst SMMEs as well as to help in finding lasting solutions to the problems bedevilling the SMME sector in Botswana.
“The LEA Entrepreneurship of the Year Award winner will go away with winnings as an incentive,” said Rafifing.
He added that in addition that, the fair will be free and will also have entertainment and games for children. Rafifing stated that LEA’s annual flagship event has been used as a platform for providing market access assistance and intervention to clients.
He also highlighted that the SMMEs exhibitors will showcase their products and services to potential buyers. He maintained that the SMME’s will also have the opportunity to meet with other international exhibitors and service providers geared towards capacitating the SMME’s towards growth.
“Procurement specialists from both private sector and government have been invited and business deals are expected to take place at the fair,” said Rafifing.
He further revealed that Vice President Lt. General Mompati Merafhe will officially open the fair on April 26 and added that after the opening, the Pitso is expected to take place and is scheduled to be led by the assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Vincent Seretse. He said the Pitso will give feedback on issues raised at the last Pitso.
“We have to share experiences and knowledge as entrepreneurs and find solutions on how best to adapt to an ever changing world. LEA will continue to show commitment and support to the SMME development in all aspects,” he explained.
Rafifing expressed concern about SMMEs, which he said are mostly challenged sector due to market access as well as having limited access to finance.
He said LEA wants to see the capability of SMMEs and also clientele potential in the market and how to improve their services and products. He further highlighted that they train SMMEs on trade fair dynamic, readiness and how to put their brands attractively.
“The SMMEs are playing a big role in our economy and they reduce dependency on the government and they are good for the domestic market,” he explained.