Maseru -Participation at the third Entrepreneurship Expo has shown tremendous growth and appreciation by small enterprises, the organisers of the event have said. The week-long expo, under the theme ‘Regeneration of the Nation’ which could be loosely explained to suggest a rebirth of a nation or starting afresh for a country, especially in business, was held this week at Manthabiseng Convention Centre starting from Monday and is scheduled to end at the weekend.
The expo is meant to expose, promote and strengthen networking within small businesses while encouraging them to share with each other, how business is professionally conducted and ways to revive their own initiatives and promote a nation that cares about growing its economy. The event was graced by professionals from various NGOs, government and corporates such as Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO), Econet, American Embassy and Standard Lesotho Bank who are also sponsors and partners of the Expo.
The event organisers also explained that the 2018 Expo and business summit aims at exposing entrepreneurs to investors while also helping young leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs to strengthen their sense of purpose in addition to building skills to make an impact in the business world. Reiterating this year’s theme, master of ceremonies at the EXPO, Lineo Tsikoane, said the regeneration of the nation is the rebirth of the nation, especially in business.
She said Lesotho used to be a strong country, with a promising economy. She further made an example of Lesotho being one of the very first countries to set up a multinational university setting an example to other African countries. “Lesotho’s economy was growing and there was light and promise of a better future but now everything has collapsed and we need to fix it for not only ourselves but also for the future generations,” she said.
Minister of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing, Chalane Phori, said the expo was about redoing business. “Lesotho used to be a good country but was destroyed by its own people,” he said adding that it is high time the nation stood together to reshape Lesotho by joining the business industry. “Business is for everyone,” Phori continued, “both the educated and uneducated should be in business.”
This kind of Expo, Phori said, should involve more small business owners and students who are usually affected by unemployment after completing their studies.Apart from that he mentioned that to grow local businesses, a law is about to passed in parliament to make it mandatory for local businesses to ensure 25 percent goods in their stores is procured locally. “This can only be achieved if we all agree with this law,” he said adding that business should start at home.
“If you are in business it needs to start in the country; we cannot export goods while we do not sell them locally,” he said explaining that Lesotho is not yet free if it still survives through donations when people should start businesses. He said people need to start cooperatives to fight high unemployment and avoid games played by banks when individuals seek loans.
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