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Jakarasi

Networking can be very daunting and terrifying especially if you do not enjoy meeting people. However there is no option if you have to build your business. You need to meet people because these same people can help you build your business by putting you in touch with the right people who can assist you steer your business in the right direction. By networking you can meet people who might end up mentoring you. Networking should not just be a matter of exchanging business cards or shaking hands and say a few words. It’s more than that.
To network you need to get out of your comfort zone and go and meet people. You can either join a sport, golf club, a gym, a business association in your neighbourhood or join a hobby where you are likely to meet people of similar interests. Networking is ideal when you meet people in a social setting where they will be relaxed and you can easily strike up a good conversation.
Networking is a two way communication so when you meet someone, you want to know that person and you also would like them to know you. You start with basic introductions – like introducing yourself, your name, your company, your position and you can then delve deeper into talking about the products or services your company offers and other pertinent business issues.
This will also then opens up discussions about that person’s business. From such discussions you can pick the needs of the other person, you might also ask about who makes buying decisions in that business. You need such information if eventually you have to do business with that person. In all these conversations you need to be a good listener and you need to ask pertinent questions. At the end of the discussions get the contact details of the person.
To develop a meaningful relationship make sure you are not intending to be the beneficiary only but you should present yourself as a problem solver. The other person should benefit from this relationship also. It’s important that you follow-up your first meeting with either a call or another meeting to cement the relationship. Usually you can’t gauge whether the relationship is worth continuing in the first meeting. So your initial meeting is to get to know each other and get contact details.
As you exchange contact information and business cards, quickly jot down notes about what you spoke about with that person to help you when following up later. Always appreciate every connection you make by thanking them.
To benefit from networking you need to plan what you want to achieve from a meeting, an upcoming conference or an event. If you are going for a conference check who is attending and then go to LinkedIn or that person’s company website and get information prior to meeting people who interest you. You could then actually follow up with those people via other social media like Twitter or Facebook. In this way you are already starting a relationship which you could cement when you meet the person face-t0-face at the conference.
Make sure as you network you surround yourself with smarter people because this will push you to become better. They say “Iron sharpens iron.” You need people who will impart change into your life or business.
In order to benefit from networking or from attending networking events you need to adopt a systematic approach to networking. Always evaluate your current network to identify those connections that are missing and then you selectively choose the events most likely to be attended by the types of people you are looking for. Target such people and speak to them and see how they can help your business grow, either directly or through a referral. You need to draw up a long-term plan like you do in every business activity. Draw up a networking strategy. Your main goal would be to grow your business through your circle of contacts and in the process they also should be benefiting from relating with you.
The old way of networking, face-to-face interaction, is still key in business, but however you can use social media to find new contacts. You can use Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media by joining groups with like-minded people.
When you have met someone at an event, as you converse with them, try to identify three types of needs as explained by Aaron Carrano, programme manager at Google. These needs include latent needs – needs which customers aren’t aware of yet; direct needs – which customers inform you of; and assumed needs – which you can deduce. As you listen carefully, you can align what that person needs with what you can offer. In your conversation you can now emphasise those needs that you can offer and that are needed by the other person.
After every encounter try to connect with the people you have just met on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. That way, you’ll get updates about what they are doing. Make sure you create a list of the contacts you’ve made, including important information about what you can offer one other.
Meeting someone new can be intimidating but by being prepared, being an active listener and maintaining a lasting relationship will make networking a worthwhile exercise. Networking can be fun and help you in generating more business.

About the author
Stewart Jakarasi is a business & financial strategist and a lecturer in business strategy and performance management. He provides advisory and guidance on leadership, strategy and execution, preparation of business plans and on how to build and sustain high-performing organisations.

For assistance in implementing some of the concepts discussed in these articles please contact him on the following contacts: sjakarasi@gmail.com or +266 58881062 or on WhatsApp +266 62110062

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Jobs galore for Lesotho

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94 000 jobs.

That is what the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA-Lesotho) will create in the next 10 years, according to Prime Minister Sam Matekane.

The MCA-Lesotho was created by the Lesotho parliament last year after the United States’ Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) found Lesotho eligible to receive development funds.

The MCC gives development grants to poor countries that respects democratic principles and human rights.

The MCC has unlocked a staggering US$322 million (over M5 billion) to the government of Lesotho after the country enacted three laws the protect people’s basic rights this week.

Matekane advised youths to visit MCA-Lesotho offices to understand how best they can benefit from the fund and the projects that will be financed.

The MCC’s investments are aimed at increasing the availability of water for household and industrial use, enhance watershed management and conservation methods, rehabilitate health infrastructure and strengthen health systems, and remove barriers to private investment.

The MCA-Lesotho’s Health and Horticulture Compact seeks to assist the country in unlocking equitable and sustainable economic growth in partnership with the private sector by addressing key constraints to growth.

Matekane said the job creation potential of the horticulture project alone is estimated at 4 000 jobs.

This excludes indirect jobs that will be created through packaging supplies, logistics, cold chain activities as well as the processing of the output.

“Let us all be ready and ensure we spend all the funding that is available,” Matekane said.

He said the money is going to be invested in agriculture, trade and industry, value chains, infrastructure development, tourism and creative sectors.

“The Compact has come at a critical time when the country is in dire need of financial injections to revive the economy,” he said.

“This second Compact forms the core of Lesotho’s private sector-led economic growth, recovery and job creation agenda.”

He said the MCA staff should work diligently, to implement this Compact.

“There are several Basotho businesses out there that are eager to seize the opportunities that the Compact brings,” Matekane said.

“Serve them with integrity, accountability and dedication.”

Matekane said the government has established the Cabinet Sub-Committee on the Compact which is under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister Nthomeng Majara.

The sub-committee is mandated to ensure that the government provides overall oversight, strategic direction and support for successful implementation of the Compact.

He said he expects the MCA-Lesotho to ensure the full implementation of the project within the next five years.

“Our economy needs this capital injection to boost productivity and job creation,” Matekane said.

Matekane said the government had to enact three pieces of legislation which were necessary to support the investments that the MCC is making.

The enacted laws are the Labour Code Amendment Bill, the Administration of Estates and Inheritance Bill and the Occupational Safety and Health Bill.

Majara Molupe

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Bank spearheads career expo

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Standard Lesotho Bank will tomorrow host a career expo at the ’Manthabiseng Convention Centre for high school students who will sit for their final exams this year.
The 14th Annual Standard Lesotho Bank Career Expo was launched in Mokhotlong on Monday where the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) welcomed students in areas around the Polihali Dam construction site.

On Tuesday the expo was at the Butha-Buthe Community High School, yesterday it was at Assumption High School in Teya-Teyaneng while today it is in Quthing at Holy Trinity High School.

The five-day nationwide event is dedicated to connecting ambitious Basotho youths with exciting career opportunities.

Standard Lesotho Bank says it’s career expo “is a cornerstone of the bank’s commitment to empowering Basotho youth and shaping the future of Lesotho’s workforce”.

The 2024 edition of the event is the 14th where the bank is now the headline sponsor of this important expo that reaches about over 10 000 students countrywide.

The expo promises to be an even better offering where over 35 institutions of higher learning from Lesotho and South Africa as well as professional bodies will explain different career options to Basotho students.

Standard Lesotho Bank communications manager, Manyathela Kheleli, said students in Mokhotlong did not only learn about different engineering disciplines but got to appreciate engineering in action at Polihali.

He said it was a lifetime experience for students from Mokhotlong, “thanks to the collaboration with LHDA, who are fully responsible for the Polihali leg of the event”.

There were also motivational speakers from different professions in the bank and other selected institutions.

Key influencers in the football fraternity, former Likuena captain and now Corporate Responsibility Manager at Letšeng Diamonds, Tšepo Hlojeng, and former Orlando Pirates dribbling wizard, Steve Lekoelea, are among the influencers that have been invited to address the students.

The event is a sponsorship initiative under Personal and Private Banking that is open to all youths, communities, and individuals, where the bank intends to use this event to drive the new Youth or student Customer Value Proposition and attract high school students to open accounts ahead of their enrolment into tertiary institutions.

The objective of this sponsorship is to first create an environment where future leaders of Lesotho will be nurtured and informed of top career choices that demonstrate various skills requirements for the growth of Lesotho’s economy.

Secondly, the career expo is a clear demonstration of the bank’s intention to put youths at the centre of its initiatives.

This position is shown by the bank’s initiative to not only develop special products for youths, such as the Youth Account but also through several initiatives that promote youth empowerment. These include the bursary scheme and the Bacha Entrepreneurship Project.

“We are more than a bank for our youths, but a good corporate citizen and a partner for the education for Basotho,” Kheleli said.

“We believe that as we grow our youths, they will become assets to this country and by extension, develop into a feeder market for our banking products when they enter the job market,” he said.

The bank has invested M150 000 towards sponsorship of the annual Career Expo.

Staff Reporter

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Ministry launches fresh industrialisation drive

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A new policy to drive industrialisation in Lesotho was launched in Maseru this week.
The Lesotho National Industrialisation Policy 2024–2028 is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Trade.

The ministry says the policy seeks to accelerate economic diversification in the industrial base, enhance productivity and productive capacity for industrialisation and advance domestic and regional value chains for industrialisation.

It also seeks to promote and develop industrial clustering, promote inclusive industrialisation, support entrepreneurship development and strengthen business linkages.
The new policy will also seek to enhance energy efficiency and sustainability, promoting technology adoption and innovation, services-based industrialisation, and stimulating agro-based industrialisation.

This is not the first time Lesotho has launched an industrialisation policy. Previous policies have all failed.

The first attempt was the 2015–2017 industrial policy, whose aim was to accelerate the industrialisation agenda and address key challenges facing the country.

The second one was the 2018–2023 policy, which after its unsuccessful execution during the three years of implementation, the government extended it to the National Strategic Development Plan Strategic Focus (2023/24-2027/28).

The new industrial policy’s target is set to activate implementation on innovation to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of domestic industries, create decent jobs and improve the welfare of Basotho.

Thabo Moleko, the Ministry of Trade Principal Secretary, said the implementation of the new policy is set to deepen economic growth, promote industrialisation and enhance competitiveness.

“The plan includes greater investment in industrial development with the intention to create employment and incomes while building on maintaining the existing industrial trade,” Moleko said.

Mamello Nchake, a consultant for the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa (UNECA), said the development goals of the industrial policy are set to ensure an achievable inclusiveness and equitable growth as they aim to create sector-led quality jobs for Basotho.

Nchake said the goals are meant to “develop and maintain enabled infrastructure that is critical to the private sectors and also to promote gender equality, environmental and climate risk management”.

“Moreover, the policy (will seek to) harness the collaboration with private sector firms to address common challenges and promote industrialisation,” she said.

The workshop discussed constraints that hindered the implementation of the 2018 – 2023 policy that undermined investment and trade opportunities.

The constraints include access to land for investment, inadequate provision of infrastructure, an outdated and a lack of appropriate regulatory environment, low productive capacity, market size and topological constraints, unstable macroeconomic environment, external factors, and over-dependency of trade preferences.

To address the strategic objectives, the previous industrial policies had proposed tax incentives for industrial development, trade policy and regional integration as the main vehicle for industrialisation and structural transformation.

They had also proposed mechanisms for policy coordination and implementation, institutional alignment and linkages.

However, several key challenges were identified in the implementation of the 2015-2017 industrial policy.

They included limited financial and investment capacity to effectively implement the industrial policy actions.

“Financing instruments are not aligned with the level of development needs of the private sector,” stakeholders heard at the workshop.

They also heard that there is “persistent dependency on few industries that poses risks in the face of global economic uncertainties and ever-changing consumer preferences”.
Another identified problem is limited investment climate that makes it costly for foreign firms to invest in Lesotho.

It was also observed that a shortage of specialised education and skills crucial for growth of industries impact the ability of firms to adopt advanced technologies and improve productivity and the productive capacity.

Stakeholders also heard that there is limited global competitiveness and access to global markets.

Lesotho’s industries, they heard, particularly textiles and garments, face competition from other low-cost manufacturing countries.

The country is also spooked by poor coordination between the implementing agencies due to a lack of a clear implementation framework.

Khahliso ’Molaoa

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