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Women enterprises urged to scout market beyond borders

Officials from the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) have encouraged Francistown business women to craft their marketing strategies aligned to a greater Botswana market base.

Speaking at a business coaching and capacity building workshop organized by African Women Entrepreneurship Program last week in Francistown, AGOA Business Consultant, George Makore urged participants to always reflect on their work time and again as a way of weighing what they may be doing wrong or significantly right.

He told attendants that processing, packaging and branding of produced goods and services are an integral aspect of business marketing and generally running successful enterprises. “Our studies inform us that packaging and appealing branding is still a challenge for a number of upcoming businesses in Botswana. For those that are into food production or food commodity trading, processing, packaging and branding has to be that of high standards,’’ he said.

Makore added that as AGOA, they are readily available for regular capacity building, facilitating networking platforms as well as continued business coaching for Batswana business women. “We are very lucky as Botswana to be amongst the beneficiaries and eligible states of these initiatives.’’

For her part Francistown Deputy District Commissioner, Tebogo Hlabano, told women entrepreneurs that businesses cannot be confined to small parameters of operations only. He urged the attendants that products they produce should be of international standards.
“Do not limit your business to Francistown or Botswana alone, put up funding request proposals that will go beyond our borders and compete in those markets as effectively as locally,” she said.

A representative from the organizers, African Women Entrepreneurship Program, Ms Giyenda Chinyepi told weekendpost that the workshop was a platform to exchange views and mainly to equip women with marketing skills and world class business standards. Quoted after the workshop‘’ we encourage our women to produce goods and services that are 1st accessible and exportable to the regional market’’ she said.

Chinyepi further added that for Botswana products to be absorbed by the American market, they have to be first tested in the neighbouring market space. ‘’ We are fully aware of the fact that Botswana has small market space, thus business women here should produce appealing goods and services to the SADC region and Africa as a whole before they qualify to export to the United States ‘’ She lamented.

However market access was not noted as the only challenge facing Batswana women business people, as skills and technical knowhow was also observed as significant hindrance to women business prosperity. Mayor of Francistown, Her Worship, Silvia Muzila observed that lack of skills and business etiquettes is a concern for upcoming women enterprises in Francistown and Botswana as a whole.

‘’A majority of this Micro Enterprices  lack business skills for running a profitable and growing business, you lack  operational  technical knowhow, you don’t have adequate premises and  information to realize growth in your businesses’’ she noted. African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) is an outreach, education, and engagement initiative by the United States Government that targets African women entrepreneurs to promote business growth, increase trade, both regionally and to U.S. markets through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which seeks to create better business environments, and empower African women entrepreneurs to become voices of change in their communities.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was established by the American Government and signed into law on May 18, 2000 as Title 1 of The Trade and Development Act of 2000. The Act offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets. The initiatives provide professional networking, business development and financing to meaningful women entrepreneurship ventures in Africa.

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Food prices continue to rise, but at a slower rate

28th November 2022

Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

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Still doing business the old way?

18th November 2022

It’s time to get business done better with MTN Business Botswana’s ICT Solutions.

Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.

More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.

Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.

A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.

Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
MTN’s evolution

For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.

As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.

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BIE to vitalize the Dignity of Engineers

9th November 2022

Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in  which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.

The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.

Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.

“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.

He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.

Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.

“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.

He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.

He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc

“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran

Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.

“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.

Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that  the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.

“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.

He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.

“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams

He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .

Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution  said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.

“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.

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