The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN) hosted the 5th Entrepreneurship Expo 2021 in Maseru this week on the theme “ReBuildingTheEconomy.”
This is an initiative aimed at growing the entrepreneurial ecosystem and becoming a think tank for creating jobs, accelerating innovation, and strengthening good entrepreneurial and professional practices.
Speaking at the Expo, TEN Managing Director Steven Monyamane stated that they could not host the 5th annual entrepreneurship Expo in 2020 due to the Covid -19 pandemic as a lot of activities were restricted by then.
He indicated that this year’s theme is ‘Rebuilding the Economy, #ReAha MoruoBocha’- a promise to be productive, monumental, informative and above all, catalyst in truly rebuilding the economy of Lesotho.
“We are the social entity which intends on building ecosystem by identifying talent, formalize, professionalize, provide access to finance as well as create access to market,” he said.
He said that ever since their existence, 16 companies have benefited, 400 individuals attended their events and trainings and they also have collaborated with the Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI).
Monyamane indicated that the expo is simply not only to showcase the work but also to celebrate the survival of their enterprises throughout the year. He said that their quest is self-knowledge as entrepreneur,
“It was from the year 2017 when Basotho Enterprise Development Corporations (BEDCO) stepped in by sponsoring up to 200 exhibition stalls for Small, Medium and Macro Enterprises (SMMEs) to showcase their products throughout the Expo,” he said.
Rethabile Shale Motsamai the Director of TEN said TEN operates across all sectors and industries and intends to contribute to making Lesotho a more entrepreneur-friendly society by hosting regular events, namely, The Hook-Up Dinner (THUD) and The Entrepreneurship Expo.
Meanwhile, the Former Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Small Business Development, Corporative and Marketing Lerata Pekane, stressed the importance of buying local as the impact becomes immediate.
“As you buy an item out there you are making a difference in a number of lives as the producer is likely a bread winner in an extended family, you simply affect lives of more than one person, which is better than buying across the border. That would develop the social ecosystem and reduce high unemployment rate,” he said.
Pekane stated that the key sectors of this years’ expo are agriculture, technology, tourism and manufacturing, the purpose being to identify and structure how entrepreneurs, innovators, technocrats, policymakers, cooperates, captains of industry and businesses in general could unpack and develop sustainable linkages in each sectorial value chain.
The Entrepreneurship Expo started in 2016 and has been held annually with 300 to 500 attendees to daily panel discussions and workshops.