Okavango Research Institute (ORI) Director Professor Joseph Mbaiwa has urged entrepreneurs in Maun to build rapport, through which they can support one another and also share business ideas that would benefit their businesses and also grow the economy of Ngamiland.
He said this recently when addressing the Maun business community at the Ngami Alive After 5, a premium business networking event hosted by ‘Okavango Is Calling’ brand. The initiative was introduced for the business community to interact, learn and grow their personal brands.
Mbaiwa noted that a wide network of informed, interconnected contacts means broader access to new and valuable information.
He further highlighted that networking can be an excellent source of new perspectives and ideas to help boost businesses. He encouraged those with business experiences to share their skills and ideas as this in turn would build their reputation as an innovative thinker and business person.
Mbaiwa is of the view that with the tourism industry having suffered the effects of Covid- 19, government should revisit tourism policies and prioritise domestic tourism to allow locals to travel within the country at lower rates to boost the sector.
Meanwhile the Maun Business Trading Chairperson Bernard Wellio said that networking is important as it provides an opportunity to build mutually beneficial relationships with other established and experienced entrepreneurs in the industry.
He noted that Maun offers opportunities in tourism and retail sectors, making a good foundation for business base in Botswana’s economy.
Wellio stated that SMMEs were badly affected by the pandemic and therefore encouraged Maun SMMEs to enjoy the benefits of Maun as a tourism hub by venturing into the tourism business of selling local crafts, like woven baskets and the Maun staple food, tswii.
For his part, founder of Okavango is Calling brand, Vincent Sebati noted that networking is an essential craft to master, no matter the level of experience. He further said that good business networking has a basis of trust and support – and can mean the difference between a mediocre business and a phenomenal one.
Sebati said he was impressed with the turn up at the event, as the numbers far exceeded those of the previous event, which he said was a clear indication that entrepreneurs were heeding the message business networking and its importance.