The Managing Director of Botswana Telecommunications Limited (BTCL), Paul Taylor has emphasised that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMMES) could be the solution to economic challenges that are currently be-devilling Francistown.
Launching the Botswana Business Northern Trade fair last week in Francistown, Taylor said SMMES could be the biggest source of untapped growth potential that can help generate new job opportunities in Francistown. Francistown which is the second city is currently faced with serious economic challenges after the closure of some mines due to a slump in commodity prices.
Taylor also added that the informal sector should also be taken seriously as it contributes significantly to the economy.
“Besides those that are represented here today, there are many thousands of Batswana who are operating in the informal sector to make ends meet and help create jobs for youth and women economic empowerment. They too deserve to be recognised,” he said.
He said through the Business Botswana Trade Fair, businesses can be able to unlock their productivity, marketability, competitiveness and job creating potential to grow their operations. He further added that innovation and networking is key for business success, adding that the Northern Trade Fair helps bring exhibitors together with buyers creating opportunity for growth.
“The fair also offers an opportunity to exhibitors to explore areas outside their own identifying possibilities for synergies and partnerships. Entrepreneurs with resources and time can leverage and discover ways to grow by connecting with the right people at the fair,” he said.
He explained that times have changed as people now live in an economy where it is increasingly important to make connections and to explore new things. He encouraged the participants to use the trade fair to expand their experiences through interaction.
Taylor advised exhibitors that as they connect and share ideas, they should also be alive to the fact that they must brand and register their companies trademarks to ensure identity protection of their products and creations. He further showered accolades on Business Botswana for continuing to advocate and lobby government on various issues of concern that can impede the growth of the private sector.
“Business Botswana is also playing an important role as a body that strives to enhance the overall competitiveness of the private sector by tapping into new markets and promoting sustainable development. Events such as the Northern Trade Fair go a long way in helping grow, expand and diversify the economy,” he said.
Taylor revaled that BTCL’s sponsorship of the trade fair has given them a platform to showcase their products and services. BTCL also sponsors the annual Francistown BeMobile Marathon. On a different note, Taylor expressed pleasure as over 50 000 citizens managed to buy shares from BTCL and the successful listing on the local bourse. He further showered accolades on Francistown Mayoress, Sylvia Muzila for implementing vision 2022 in her endeavour to transform the second city into an economic hub.
“We applaud your efforts to keep the city vibrant and open for business. To Business Botswana let us continue working together with government on ensuring that the private sector is indeed the primary engine of economic growth,” he said.
In conclusion Taylor advised exhibitors to add value to their products and innovate, identify areas that have a competitive edge to develop and grow the business and provide all possible assistance towards realisation of sustainable businesses critical in creating opportunities and diversifying the economy.
The Business Botswana Trade Fair was held under the theme “Connecting Ideas; Creating Opportunities.”