Maseru, Oct. 12 — MILCO, a chain store that sells only Made-in-Lesotho products and services opened its doors of first pop-up store at Sefika Shopping complex in Maseru earlier this week.
It is created by and incubated under the National University of Lesotho (NUL) Innovation Hub. It is registered with the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Business Development and Tourism.
According to information from NUL Research and Innovations, it states that the store will concentrate all Lesotho products and services into one place in each district of Lesotho and other countries.
It says that this will give Lesotho products and services the attention they deserve until they gain prominence by protecting them from external competition inside MILCO.
It states that through the store, will slowly professionalize not only the products and services but how they are produced and sold saying that Basotho producers will go beyond the hustling phase (boitšokoli).
It adds that whenever possible, MILCO will provide producers with a means of product distribution.
“It will be a vehicle to export Lesotho products to the outside world. MILCO in Johannesburg means Lesotho products in Johannesburg,” explains the statement.
Moreover, the statement indicates that members also become shareholders saying that the amount of shareholding one contributes will relate to the amount of dividends one gets once MILCO starts making profits.
“For the first time, you will have a chance to sell your products or services in a store that sells only Lesotho products, a store owned by you. Your product competes with local products only inside MILCO,” it emphasises.
Furthermore, it states that MILCO is different in that it will not just be about selling Lesotho products and services but they are going to make Lesotho products and services cool to consumers.
On the other hand, one of the shoppers Mrs. Libuseng Mahooe commended the initiative saying that it is relieving to get products and services produced by Basotho. She said that it is time that Basotho unleash their talents so that Lesotho like countries such as China only consume their own products and services.
She said that she hopes that unlike other cooperatives established by Basotho, MILCO grows and fulfills its dream of extending to all districts of the country and outside.
MILCO’s first pop-up store is built through monthly contributions by members of the cooperative and a firm support of STANLIB that donated M 101, 000. 00 for building of the store.
To date MILCO has received support from Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO), Standard Lesotho Bank as well as Revenue Services Lesotho through Bacha Entrepreneurship project competition price of M216, 000.00.
MILCO is a four in one store thus a physical store, an online store, a wholesaler and a marketing platform for local products and services.