Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT) and Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO) on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate in the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Under the terms of the MoU, the two organisations would train and develop MSMEs, provide enterprise incubation and mentorship as well as skills development, among other support mechanisms.
In his remarks during the signing ceremony in Maseru, BEDCO Chief Executive Officer Robert Likhang said the initiative was meant to equip budding entrepreneurs with skills to be more competitive.
“Three years ago, we were tasked by our board to turn BEDCO around by ensuring enterprises could be used to uplift the country’s economy,” said Mr Likhang.
“We embarked on study tours in such countries as India, Swaziland and South Africa to assess the role of MSMEs in their economic development. After conducting rigorous research, we came up with a strategic plan to guide our efforts.”
Mr Likhang further said BEDCO resolved to forge partnerships with other organisations such as LUCT to assist MSMEs.
“LUCT is a very vibrant institution that has contributed immensely to the country’s betterment since its inception. It has brought in the element of creativity which was sorely needed to move away from the old ways of doing business,” Mr Likhang said.
“LUCT has excelled in introducing a combination of technology and creativity in many of their academic programmes hence our decision to partner with them.”
BEDCO Principal Consultant, Abiel Mashale, chipped in saying the partnership was meant to assist MSMEs to become viable.
“Studies around the world have revealed that MSMEs contribute significantly to the economic growth of countries, with 70 percent of South Africa’s gross domestic product coming from MSMEs while in the United States it is around 95 percent,” said Mr Mashale.
“Research has also shown that there was a 70 percent chance that small businesses would not operate beyond the fourth year from inception. Against this backdrop, BEDCO has implemented a number of initiatives to assist budding entrepreneurs.”
In his remarks, LUCT Registrar Moroka Hoohlo said the partnership between the two organisations was in line with the university’s mandate of, among other things, addressing economic challenges by imparting youths with skills that would enable them to create jobs.
“Our mandate is not to compel students to seek employment but to sustain themselves and create jobs for others,” Mr Hoohlo said.
“We have mentorship programmes such as the Limkokwing Entrepreneurship Acceleration Platform (LEAP) which provide mentorship for graduates from our institution as well as others who seek training in business.”
He said there was need for Basotho to look at themselves not just as employees, but employers.
“We have often gotten it wrong in this country with many people who still believe jobs are provided by government and not realising that they can become employers themselves,” added Mr Hoohlo.