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Business hub’s second cohort graduates

Lijeng Ranooe

COMMUNICATIONS Minister Joang Molapo has commended Vodacom Foundation for addressing the pertinent needs of Basotho with its business incubation hub Vodacom Innovation Park (VIP).

The minister said this during the graduation ceremony of the second cohort of six up-and-coming entrepreneurs that underwent training at the Maseru Mall-based VIP.

VIP is a technology-based business incubator for young entrepreneurs. It addresses such challenges as lack of requisite skills, knowledge and discipline to manage and grow businesses. It was established by the Vodacom Lesotho Foundation, with the aim of addressing challenges facing Lesotho’s entrepreneurs.

It leverages the power of technology and mobile communications to address challenges such as lack of office space, connectivity and office equipment which results in most entrepreneurs ending up working from home.

VIP’s second cohort of up-and-coming enterprises included 360 Communications, a research firm specialising in corporate communications.

Black Hair Organics is an organic hair product manufacturer, Locofarms grows organic crops while Mint Photography collects surveying data using drones.

Dust Busters is a tech-enabled cleaning service platform and the Connaissance Foundation specialises in the education system.

In his remarks, Vodacom Lesotho Executive Head of Corporate Affairs Tsepo Ntaopane said the Vodacom Foundation was committed to using technology to change the lives of Basotho, adding that the VIP provided the young entrepreneurs with the necessary skills to survive the harsh business environment.

“The initiative is aimed at encouraging a culture of entrepreneurship in Basotho youths to stem the high unemployment rate,” he said.

“It facilitates the creation of job opportunities and addresses the challenges Lesotho faces in three key areas; health, education and entrepreneurship.”

Chief Molapo said he fully supported the initiative, adding that it spoke directly to the aspirations of Basotho youths.

“This is more so, given that the communications sector has a vital role to play in Lesotho’s economy,” he said.

“The Vodacom Foundation is meaningfully contributing to Lesotho’s socio-economic development.

For his part, Vodacom Lesotho Corporate Affairs Manager Mpho Brown said all the six graduates would receive financial support for placement in a co-working space and office space or workshop space for a period of four months after the programme.

They would also receive financial support of website development and hosting services for each business for up to 12 months as well as free use of the VIP facilities for meetings, events, networks and other business related activities for 12 months.

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