In 1846 Cross Street Market was built to serve the growing population of South Baltimore, USA. One of the USA’s oldest public markets, Cross Street Market has been credited to inspiring street markets across the globe and now the town of Lobatse in Botswana has also finally got its own.
The Lobatse Street Market comes after a native company dubbed Twenty-Four, Three Sixty-Five Pty Ltd (24/365) took upon itself to help resuscitate the town that many now refer to as a ghost town.
The company seeks to host a series of events aimed at bringing back to live the town that used to be well known for its vibrancy.
Lobatse is home to the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) and bears a lot of the country’s history as it used to be a highly decorated place boasting with a lot of opportunities.
This past Saturday 25/365 virtually launched Lobatse Streets and Market, officially launched by the area Member of Parliament – Dr Thapelo Matsheka.
The company’s Director and PR & Marketing Manager – Andrie Mokopakgosi said they are encouraging big Corporate companies in Lobatse to adopt and mentor the small upcoming businesses.
Mokopakgosi said despite the challenges brought about by Covid-19, business doesn’t stop so they thought of an idea that will see Lobatse Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) grow.
“Lobatse Streets and Market is an idea where we have SMMEs coming together and bringing the market to them.” He noted.
Every last Saturday of the month starting from the month of March, they will have physical markets where the public will be welcome to come and marvel and purchase the products and services offered by the SMMEs.
“The aim is to bring together SMMEs with Lobatse big corporate companies into one space because there are big corporates in Lobatse that have been here for so many years and this means there must be something they are doing right.” Stated Mokopakgosi.
The Streets and Market event will have an aspect of a tour called Bona Lobatse. There will be a tour bus that will be going around simultaneously with the market showing people Lobatse streets and sharing their history.
Mokopakgosi concluded by urging people to come and support what the small businesses are doing and for the big companies to adopt what the small companies are doing. He also encouraged Lobatse SMMEs to embrace the event and come showcase the products and services that they offer.
All SMMEs are going to have a small yearly subscription fee which will get them a movable display stand as well as a stall at every market.
Some of the few SMMEs that came to showcase over the weekend included jam makers, beauty spas and sculptors from Lobatse.
For his part, Dr Matsheka said he believes the initiative will create jobs and encourage other young people to emulate what these young men are doing.
He noted that people must bear in mind that the town can only be resuscitated by team effort.
“As the MP and minister of Finance & Economic Development I am here to work with young people in realizing new opportunities and harnessing the existing value chains.” Said the MP.
Dr Matsheka called on large Corporate companies in the town to help these small and upcoming businesses grow by working with and guiding them.