‘En­trepreneur­ship project on course’

Lesotho Times - - Business - Retha­bile Pitso M-pesa win­ner ri­fles through Pick n Pay

THE im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Bacha En­trepreneur­ship project, which seeks to foster youth par­tic­i­pa­tion in busi­ness, is ahead of sched­ule, the project’s spokesper­son Pheello Mphana has said.

The Le­sotho Rev­enue Author­ity (LRA) Stan­dard Le­sotho Bank and Ba­sotho En­trepreneur­ship Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (BEDCO) signed a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing (MOU) last De­cem­ber that sought to find so­lu­tions to the spi­ralling youth un­em­ploy­ment by ca­pac­i­tat­ing them with en­trepreneur­ship skills.

The project’s main fo­cus is on young un­em­ployed grad­u­ates be­tween the ages of 21 and 35 with a view to mak­ing them em­ploy­ers and driv­ers of eco­nomic growth by be­com­ing en­trepreneurs.

The grad­u­ates must have com­pleted their stud­ies and should not have been for­mally em­ployed af­ter at­tain­ing their qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

Pro­pos­als will not be limited to any par­tic­u­lar area of in­ter­est or dis­ci­pline, but se­lected only on merit based on viability, a strong busi­ness case and longevity.

Out of all the pro­pos­als re­ceived, the top 25 will be short-listed for fi­nal se­lec­tion.

The short­listed can­di­dates will then re­ceive en­tre­pre­neur­ial train­ing for two weeks and, there­after, fine-tune and re­sub­mit their pro­pos­als for fi­nal se­lec­tion.

Af­ter re­sub­mis­sion, three of the best pro­pos­als will then re­ceive a com­bined start-up cap­i­tal of M500 000 to put their plans into ac­tion.

Mr Mphana said the first part of the project was ex­pected to com­mence in March when a panel of ad­ju­di­ca­tors would be cho­sen to over­see the se­lec­tion process.

“We planned to bring the ad­ju­di­ca­tors in March with one rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the LRA, Stan­dard Le­sotho Bank, BEDCO, Le­sotho In­sti­tute of Ac­count­ing (LIA) and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the Min­istry of Youth, Sports and Gen­der,” Mr Mphana said.

“The pub­lic­ity cam­paign to re­lay the in­for­ma­tion to the youth has been on­go­ing in the me­dia since De­cem­ber and we will be ac­cept­ing in­vi­ta­tions un­til the end of Fe­bru­ary.

“When the three best pro­pos­als have been cho­sen, the re­main­ing 22 will be given a chance to hone their en­tre­pre­neur­ial skills in the other projects BEDCO is al­ready run­ning.”

He also en­cour­aged youths to make use of the in­for­ma­tion avail- able at ad­vice cen­tres which have been set up at BEDCO dis­trict of­fices and some Stan­dard Le­sotho Bank branches, adding that they should ap­ply be­fore the 13 March 2015 dead­line.

Mr Mphana also re­as­sured Ba­sotho that the project is gen­uine, and that it would not be dis­turbed by the up­com­ing gen­eral elec­tions as the three or­gan­i­sa­tions are determined to see it through for the sake of the youth.

“We have in­ten­si­fied our cam­paign to en­sure the elec­tions do not de­lay or dis­rupt us in any way, be­cause the process is sup­posed to take a year.

We will not wait to as­sist the youth at a later stage be­cause the time to act is now,” he said.

Mean­while, a young en­tre­pre­neur, Ra­bele Man­gal­iso Makakole, said sim­i­lar projects in the past had only ben­e­fit­ted the po­lit­i­cally con­nected, adding he hoped it wouldn’t be the case this time around.

LEFT to right: BEDCO CEO Robert Likhang, Stan­dard Le­sotho Head of Busi­ness Bank­ing Lucy Mo­hapi and LRA Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral Thabo Let­jama at the sign­ing of the MOU last De­cem­ber.

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