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Young entrepreneurs get cash boost



Bacha Entrepreneurship Project winners
Bacha Entrepreneurship Project winners

Bereng Mpaki

THREE youth enterprises Moroetsana Couture, Botanical Wares and Star Farmers were crowned winners of the second phase of the Bacha Entrepreneurship Project this week.

The project is sponsored by the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA), Standard Lesotho Bank (SLB) and Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO) to assist unemployed graduates aged between 21-35 years to start their own businesses and become employers rather than job-seekers.

Star Farmers, an agricultural production enterprise producing mushroom for the hospitality industry, walked away with M159 850.

Moroetsana Couture, which uses the Seshoeshoe fabric to produce a range of stylish clothing and jewellery won M150 000 towards expansion of the enterprise which was established in 2010.

Botanical Wares got M140 000 for the development of its business in the manufacture of organic cosmetics and eco-friendly soaps and detergents using bee wax and locally-available plants.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, BEDCO Chief Executive Officer Dr Makatleho Matabooe said the project was in line with organisation’s core function of facilitating enterprise development in the country.

She said it was imperative to encourage the creation and survival of micro, small and medium enterprises (SMMEs) as they had the potential to contribute to the country’s economic growth through employment and poverty alleviation especially among youths.

Dr Matabooe also indicated potential was undermined by limited access to finance, lack of innovation as well as lack of business management skills.

“Despite SMMEs’ potential to contribute to economic development, they face many challenges such as limited access to finance, lack of innovation, and lack of management skills,” she said.

“The three institutions sought to close that gap through a competitive price scheme which is aimed at empowering the future employers of our country.”

“The participants in this competition receive training on how to prepare a business plan from the ideas that they have. In addition to improving access to finance, this project enhances the creativity of the participants to ensure we have innovative business owners; which is something lacking among SMMEs. The winners are also capacitated with management skills to run and operate their businesses,” Dr Matabooe added.

An elated Tšosane Lebina of Star Farmers said he after narrowly missed out in last year’s edition after being eliminated in the top five best participants.

“It is a relief for me to have finally been crowned winner after last year’s disappointment. I am really thrilled,” Mr Lebina said.

The budding entrepreneur said he had not let the disappointment affect him and he had continued working hard to refine his business idea.

For his part, Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing Minister Thabiso Litšiba applauded the three organisations for coming up with the initiative to support the small business sector.

The minister said his ministry was also in the process of launching a competitive grants scheme also geared towards supporting development of youth entrepreneurship. He said the scheme would be implemented in collaboration with the private sector.















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