The Women’s Exposition will mark its tenth anniversary in style next week as 200 exhibitorsÔÇöespecially from the rural areas– will be show-casing the products at the five-day show that starts Monday.
The organization, which was founded a decade ago with the view of fishing rural women out of abject poverty, will stage a show at Fair Ground with a large turnout of exhibitors expected.
Acting Director for Women’s Affair Department (WAD), Tebatso Menyatso, said about 200 exhibitors are expected to brace this year’s event, held under the theme “Women Entrepreneurs in the Informal Sector; Pillars in Economic Diversification”.
“Initially we started off with about 70 women exhibitors each year, but now we have grown to about 200 exhibitors and that is an improvement and a move in the right direction,” Menyatso said.
Poor rural women are being organized and funded by government for small enterprises in a bid to generate income, using their natural skills such as textiles, manufacturing, pottery, knitting, craft and other forms of handy work.
Furthermore, WAD has teamed up with other innovative stakeholders like local Enterprise Authority (LEA) that specializes in training and mentoring of SMMEs as well as helping the budding business people to access the markets.
For the first time, the exposition will have a stall for women from the police force who are to reveal to the public their experiences of being women in the male dominated field.
Also to tell of their experiences will be women from the Botswana Defense Force and also on the cards are also women engineers.
Different local service providers are also invited to grace the occasion.
This year WAD had seen it fit to team up with innovative stakeholders, such as the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), which brings to the table training and mentoring of SMMEs as well as teaching exhibitors how to access the market.
Neo Mahube, who was sent as a representative for LEA, said that it was part of the company’s mandate to help SMMES and that it was by no coincidence that LEA was part of the Women’s Exposition.
“Our tasks as LEA include assisting SMMEs to penetrate the markets; trade fairs are usually our best bet,” Mahube said.
LEA is joined by the Department of Agri-business promotion, which is a branch under the Ministry of Agriculture.
The department is currently pushing for a gender policy framework under its ministry.
The other stakeholder is a non-governmental organization (NGO), Women’s Finance House Botswana, which gives loans to women exhibitors in terms of membership status.