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BEDCO to host Business Expo



MASERU – THE Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO) says the Business Expo 2018 that begins tomorrow is meant to create access to markets for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The Expo, the third since 2016, is being organised in collaboration with The Entrepreneurship Network (TEN).
BEDCO’s Communications Manager, Mzimkhulu Sithetho, says the Expo seeks to help MSMEs to access markets.
He said they had realised that “MSMEs world-wide face many challenges in their daily operations such as access to markets”.

“This challenge is critical in that if MSMEs cannot access both domestic and export markets, their sustainability remains suspect,” Sithetho said.
“The rationale behind unlocking market access for MSMEs is that they produce so that their products and services reach the final consumer and they get money in exchange,” he said.
“They will make profit and succeed in business, which is the destination of every MSME, that products must ultimately reach the consumer and the MSME gets rewarded for his/her initiatives to make the products available.”

He said the MSMEs’ initiatives to ensure that they access both local and international markets have to be supported through provision of platforms where they can showcase their products and services to potential customers. He said the programme is intended to expose MSMEs products and services to potential buyers. It will also provide a platform for MSMEs to network.
“It is an initiative by BEDCO and the Entrepreneurship Network (TEN) to unlock market access for MSMEs products and services, BEDCO leads the hosting of this event in collaboration with TEN.”

BEDCO participated in 2016 by buying a corporate stall and also stalls for 20 MSMEs who showcased their products.
In 2017, BEDCO co-hosted the event with TEN, bought a corporate stall and also organised stalls for 100 MSMEs.
The programme mobilises entrepreneurs across the country, in their various categories and formations to come to one area and expose their products and services to potential buyers.

The MSMEs get their stalls branded with their products and are given a thousand brochures each.
They get lunch vouchers for the duration of the period they are participating in the Expo.

The programme is intended to bring MSMEs together to network and know each other’s products and services for purposes of igniting value chains where necessary.
It also seeks to demonstrate the value of the private sector in the economic development of Lesotho as its engine-room.
Some of the activities at the expo will include momentum building through awareness-raising initiatives and other mobilisation strategies, training in presentations, selling and exhibitions skills in order to capacitate MSMEs in promoting their products and services and organising various thematic forums where experts in various fields make presentations.

There will also be a gala dinner that is open to corporate companies whose corporate social responsibility (CSI) initiatives are being recognised.
The gala dinner event is being organised by the Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

Sithetho said the expected outcomes include the crafting of a new economic pathway for the private sector so that it can play a meaningful role as a catalyst for economic growth in Lesotho.
It is expected to inspire youths to venture into business through motivational talks delivered by gurus in a variety of fields, and a wide exchange of views on a number of issues.
Last year’s expo saw the participation of 10 000 people, 130 MSMs, 21 corporate companies and it reached 521 000 people through social media platforms.

Staff Reporter

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