MASERU-Marking the end of its three-year pilot project, the Bacha Entrepreneurship Project (BEP) has, yet again, invested M500 000 to kick-start and grow Basotho businesses. The deserving winners were awarded their share of prizes at a ceremony in Maseru on Thursday.
Chief Executive Officer at the Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (Bedco) Dr ‘Makatleho Matabooe said they were yet to sit down with Standard Lesotho Bank (SLB) and the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) as the responsible parties of the project for review for a possible extension. Head of Marketing at SLB ‘Makeabetsoe Mabaleha confirmed the news, citing they would pronounce themselves early next year on the future of the project.
Contrary to the usual financial injection into three companies from phases 1 and 2, phase 3 has granted 4 businesses cheques, each meeting the business’ financial needs.
The companies that won this year are Spetzos Pizza – a local mobile pizza outlet; Mervice Pty Ltd – a mobile waterless carwash service provider; Limomonane Organic – food and beverages company; and Noblex Pty Ltd – an IT specialist company.
An LRA representative who also serves on the adjudication panel, Lejone Mpotjoane, explained that the companies were judged on the feasibility of the business plans, their profitability and as well as their sustainability. He said the businesses needed to cater for Basotho’s social needs and commit to the specification for the funds, strict as they may be, as they ensured that the businesses thrive to benefit the community in more ways than one.
“It’s not just the prize money that is important but the business management skills acquired throughout the journey. If we had enough financial muscle, the top 10 companies would all win because their proposals all have the potential to improve Lesotho’s economic landscape,” Mpotjoane said.
Speaking on behalf of the winners, Lipuo Nkholi from Limomonane Organics relayed her appreciation to the stakeholders for the opportunity, adding that it may not have been easy but certainly worth it.
“We promise to work hard and make a success of our businesses. To the rest of the youth, we hope they are inspired by us and are bold enough to go out there and start something,” she stated.
On behalf of Standard Lesotho Bank CEO Mpho Vumbukani, the Head of Marketing ‘Makeabetsoe Mabaleha noted that the funding they awarded to the four brilliant ideas are expected to make a difference to the youth. She said they have made considerable strides to make the project better as they believe this is the right intervention that has what it takes to take entrepreneurship to the next level.
According to Mabaleha the winners are the young men and women who have decided to meet the challenges of unemployment head on, hence they look forward to the success that will be made out of their businesses in the near future.
Delivering the keynote address, Minister of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing, Chalane Phori, said the winners must invest a lot into marketing their businesses to attract clientele. He also said it is important that they remember where they came from and should always give back to their communities as their businesses grow.
To the runners-up, he encouraged them to go back to the drawing board and try again. – Africa Business News