By Kefiloe Kajane
The Entrepreneurship Network (TEN) this week hosted the Entrepreneurship Expo 2021 that saw small medium enterprises (SMEs) taking part showcasing their locally produced products.
The week long expo was in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Lesotho Chambers of Commerce (LCCI) and Buy Lesotho. This year’s theme of the Expo was ‘Rebuilding the Economy’.
During the launch, TEN’s chairman, Stephen Monyamane, suggested that entrepreneurship is key for one to experience life in business.
He said through entrepreneurship people can create the Lesotho that they want and that the next generation will be proud of.
He observed keenly that the Coronavirus pandemic set many businesses back but it is up to individuals to take every opportunity given to them “now or wait until the Covid-19 pandemic is over to pick up the pieces.”
“The week will be filled with meetings where we will discuss different industries like cannabis pharmaceuticals and agriculture. I believe that as a country we will go very far with entrepreneurship as long as we keep investing in the SMEs,” Monyamane said.
A partner of Buy Lesotho, Lerata Pekane, hinted on the importance of Basotho buying locally produced products. He said that will help in the growth of the country’s economy “because it will mean that the money is circulating around the country.”
Pekane explained that when local businesses are successful, they are able to donate to local charities and local churches to make a better country.
He indicated that entrepreneurship in Lesotho might not be as big yet but it is something that the government and people in general can count on as long as they invest in it.
“Promoting the concept of buying local gives us hope because we realise that one day we will have a much more independent economy. It is very important that we normalize buying our own products in the country and be proud of them,” he said.
The owner of SOR Cosmetics and participant at the Expo, Selloane Raleting, said ever since she started attending expos her business has grown very much.
She said the event has helped her in the exposing her products to the right market while engaging with her old and new clients. For that reason, she is able to know what her her customers’ preferences.
“It is very eye-opening to be around the expo and seeing other entrepreneurs. We leave this place full of inspiration and with contacts for future collaborations. I would really encourage anyone who might have not attended or participated to really consider coming next time,” Raleting said.
Another participant, artist Khotso Monyamane, said being at the expo was refreshing because he learned how people react to his work.
He said over the years it has helped grow his business because he always gets more clients and collaborations with other entrepreneurs.