MASERU — A group of local women was yesterday invited to exhibit its products at a flea market in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
The Mabote Women Empowerment Network (MWEN) — which makes handicrafts, leather and textile products — was invited by the Free State Women in Tourism group.
MWEN has targeted South Africa as a major market for its products.
‘Mamokhethi Sefuthi, a member of MWEN, said displaying their products in Bloemfontein provided the local network with a good opportunity to penetrate the South African market.
“In the past few weeks we displayed our products to the members of the Free State Women in Tourism and they showed great interest in our products, so they have invited us to display some of our products at a flea market in Bloemfontein,” said Sefuthi.
“This in itself is great exposure to potential buyers and maybe we can even secure huge deals.”
The products that MWEN was expected to exhibit yesterday included bags, shoes, traditional handicrafts made of grass and the famous seshoeshoe dresses.
MWEN has 722 members, mostly from Mabote and neighbouring areas.
The Free State Women in Tourism group is made up of about 51 members involved in tourism activities such as accommodation, consultation and marketing.
Members of the Mabote network decided to come together in order to increase their production capacity.
Lack of production capacity is one of the main stumbling blocks that many local businesses face when trying to secure lucrative foreign markets.
“The alliance with Free State Women in Tourism is a starting point for our growth and they will use their connections to help us find markets for our products,” said Sefuthi.
“We will benefit from their experience and they will also help us to diversify into different markets,” said Bernadette Tlali, one of the MWEN committee members.
“And they can also be one of our main markets.”