Around 300 exhibitors took part in this year Annual Youth Expo which was held in Gaborone, representing an increase from 22 that participated in the previous one. The exhibitors were drawn from various sectors of the economy including manufacturing, services, consultancy and agriculture. The expo was first held last year and has now been turned into an annual event, bringing youth across the country to market, sell and promote their products and services. The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development Thapelo Olopeng said the expo is a platform for the youth – the promising entrepreneurs – to showcase their products and services. Olopeng said as the ministry they appreciate that young people need jobs and opportunities that can engage them. The minister called on government to inspire and motivate young people by procuring from them. The expo, which ends today (Sunday), included seminars which ran parallel with exhibitions. This according to Olopeng is to give the exhibitors an opportunity to learn from those with experience in running businesses.
According to Olopeng, last year during the first three days of sales, exhibitors made about P100, 000, excluding sales that happened post the expo. In addition to that, he said, they also established great business networks, possibly leading to new business opportunities. “We also supported quite a number of the exhibitors to participate at the 2016 Gaborone International Trade Fair and to benchmark in South Africa, Kenya and Russia,” he said. Olopeng said the youth should use social media to grow their businesses and create wealth for themselves. Assistant Minister Kefentse Mzwinila urged stakeholders to do all in their power to support youth for sustainability of their businesses. He said government’s quota reservation for open spaces, procurement of tender documents at half price, quota reservation for tender applications can only be practical if all play a role.