THE 2020 edition of the Basotho Enterprise Development Corporation (BEDCO) micro, small to medium enterprises (MSMEs) expo will expose more local products to markets than the usual physical exhibition.
BEDCO chief executive officer Idia Penane said this on the sidelines of the expo launch on Monday evening.
Held annually in December, the 2020 MSME Expo is being held virtually this year to stop the spread of Covid-19.
The expo started on 8 December and is expected to end on Saturday.
“Although we have been forced to do a digital expo this year as a result of Covid-19, we believe it is going to expose our MSMEs to a wider pool of potential buyers from domestic and international markets,” Ms Penane said.
“A physical interaction of buyers and sellers is good but is also limited in the sense that only those who can make it to the venue can view the products on display. However, on a digital platform there is potential for more viewers even from beyond our borders.”
She said entrepreneurs do not have to pay any fee to have their products displayed on the digital platform. All they must do is register and create their businesses’ profiles by logging onto the BEDCO website: www.bedcoexpo.hexafair.com.
Entrepreneurs will then be required to upload pictures or short videos of their products onto the platform. Ms Penane said the enterprise profiles will be displayed on the online platform until 12 December this year.
She said the expo also features business webinars by different local and international experts.
“The expo will also have several experts who will speak on a vast array of topics.”
The speakers include CBS managing director Mohlalefi Sefika, Executive Transport managing director Lephema Lebona, former BEDCO chief executive Robert Likhang, Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) Commissioner General Thabo Khasipe, Lesotho Institute of Accountants’ president Lefu Mokaoane, Sky Business Ink managing director John Matlosa and ‘Mamotake Matekane from Matekane Group of Companies.
Greg Calorin, the managing partner of DPI Africa and co-author of Leadership Pure and Simple is the international speaker on the platform.
For his part, Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing minister Keketso Sello, applauded BEDCO’s efforts of going ahead with the expo in the wake of Covid-19.
“While the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to haunt us for years to come, it has however, injected a new thinking and stirred businesses to think outside the box.
“That is why today, we are launching a virtual MSME expo and virtual incubation system shifting away from the traditional physical expos, which both demonstrate progress that we have made in the adoption of technology.
“I applaud the BEDCO management for organising this event. I therefore, appeal to the private sector to support this initiative and invite Basotho to visit our MSME’s virtual stalls to view their products and place orders where possible. Growth and development of this expo rest on the support of the potential buyers in this case we mean Basotho,” Mr Sello said.