Eight youth projects were on Thursday announced winners of the second round of the Maluti Mountain Brewery’s (MMB) Kickstart entrepreneurship project.
The winners walked away with grants ranging from M35 000 to M100 000, which are meant to assist kick-start new or develop existing entrepreneurial projects.
Project Kickstart is a flagship corporate social responsibility initiative by MMB and seeks to alleviate unemployment through instilling a spirit of entrepreneurship among the youths.
Speaking during Thursday’s colourful presentation ceremony held in Maseru, MMB Managing Director, Thomas Mpedi, said the company was proud to have funded a total of 14 businesses since the beginning of the project. Those who did not succeed to get MMB grants were able to get them elsewhere following the entrepreneurship training they had been afforded by the firm, he added.
“It is important to note that some of the participants from our First Round of Kickstart trainees who were not awarded grants, have been able to access alternative funding for their business ideas, which are already in operation.
“It is gratifying to know that our impact goes beyond Project Kickstart. By the end of tonight’s proceedings, we would have funded a cumulative 11 businesses. Six of these businesses received grants during the First Round and the other eight will receive funding today,” Mr Mpedi said.
He further indicated the initiative had also attracted positive response from other organizations which have since chipped into the project.
“We are honored to announce that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was captivated by our growth and social development agenda, which prompted a partnership with us in this second round of Kickstart,” Mr Mpedi said.
Gender, Youth, Sport and Recreation Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu, whose ministry is partnering MMB in the initiative, hailed the project in his address during Thursday’s ceremony. Mr Mokhothu said the project had unearthed young Basotho with the potential to create employment for themselves and others.
“Through this project, I am convinced that we have enterprising youths who can self-employ and also create job opportunities for others, and not just the type who wait to be employed,” Mr Mokhothu said, adding progress made by beneficiaries of the first round of the project was very encouraging.
Chaane Tšehle, who is the owner of Eden Hydroponics, said the grant would allow him to acquire the necessary equipment needed to embark on vegetable production.
“I am just speechless tonight! All I have is joy since I am going to realise my dream of establishing a hydroponics project. And it is all thanks to Maluti Mountain Brewery who found my proposal worthy of their support,” Mr Tšehle said in an interview with the Sunday Express on the sidelines of the ceremony.
A former agriculture teacher, Mr Tšehle said hydroponics agriculture could be the answer to the country’s food-security challenges as it had higher turnover than conventional farming.
Since it does not use soil but a nutrient solution as a medium, Mr Tšehle said this type of farming could be ideal for Lesotho which faces immense challenges of fertile soil.
Meanwhile, those presented with grants during Thursday’s ceremony were: Hear Sense- a hearing, speech and balance clinic which received M100, 000; Nalane Holdings- an information technology company which received M50, 000; Mint Works- a photography studio, filming, creative design agency and aerial surveying company which received M50, 000; Mphaki Pharmacy which received M50, 000; Eden Hydroponics which received M98, 500; African Art Furniture which received M50, 000; Roma Reed Furniture with M99, 000 and Doxa Creations with M35, 000.