MMB launches M1m Kick­start pro­gramme

Lesotho Times - - Business - Retha­bile Pitso

MA­LUTI Moun­tain Brew­ery ( MMB) has launched the sec­ond round of its youth en­trepreneur­ship devel­op­ment pro­gramme, Kick­start, with the fund in­creased from M800 000 to M1 mil­lion this year.

Kick­start is part of a Sabmiller-wide Youth Em­pow­er­ment Pro­gramme of which MMB is an af­fil­i­ate com­pany. The pro­gramme trains and fi­nances bud­ding en­trepreneurs se­lected through an ap­pli­ca­tion process by an in­de­pen­dent team of busi­ness ex­perts.

Speak­ing at the Kick­start launch cer­e­mony at a Maseru ho­tel yes­ter­day, MMB Man­ag­ing Direc­tor tom Mpedi said the ini­tia­tive was a cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity pro­gramme aimed at equip­ping young peo­ple with good busi­ness ideas and fi­nan­cial re­sources to start or im­prove their small busi­nesses.

He said the pro­gramme gives hope to un­em­ployed young Ba­sotho, who yearn for a help­ing hand to un­lock their en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit.

“You will agree with me that the num­ber of grad­u­ates from all the ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions in the coun­try in­creases each year, yet most of them are not em­ployed,” said Mr Mpedi.

“the youth un­em­ploy­ment rate in Le­sotho was es­ti­mated at 38 per­cent in 2010 by the In­ter­na­tional Labour Or­gan­i­sa­tion and the trend has not been chang­ing in re­cent years.”

The first round of the pro­gramme was launched in Fe­bru­ary 2013 with the win­ners an­nounced in Au­gust of the next year.

“It is with great plea­sure that I an­nounce that in the past year we spon­sored five star­tups and sup­ported one com­pany to im­prove its busi­ness,” Mr Mpedi said.

“Of the six youth pro­pos­als funded, two were ex­clu­sively owned by women.”

The six win­ning youth pro­pos­als in the first round were in the fields of med­i­cal as­sis­tance, tex­tile man­u­fac­tur­ing, agri­cul­ture and en­ter­tain­ment as well as in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy.

They in­cluded tex­tile man­u­fac­tur­ers House of Thethana, agri­cul­tural busi­ness Veg­gie Shack, Lekaota Me­dia pub­lish­ers of Rise n Shine mag­a­zine, med­i­cal as­sis­tants PEMS am­bu­lances, and an Ict-based com­pany as well as a disk jockey.

Mr Mpedi said to date the busi­nesses in the first round were all op­er­a­tional, adding that this time around they also wanted to in­clude youths from ru­ral ar­eas.

“as we launch the sec­ond round of project Kick­start, which we will award in au­gust 2015, we are ap­peal­ing to youths from dis­tricts other than Maseru, es­pe­cially those who are based in the ru­ral ar­eas, to take in­ter­est in Project Kick­start and sub­mit their pro­pos­als,” he said.

“We want this pro­gramme to cover youth in all the dis­tricts and we will make ef­forts, with part­ner­ship from the me­dia, to send out those mes­sages to other youths to ap­ply.”

In this year’s edi­tion, Mr Mpedi added, en­trants who do not re­ceive grants would still ac­quire busi­ness plan writ­ing skills to source fund­ing from other donors.

“For those who will sub­mit win­ning pro­pos­als, they will re­ceive a one-year men­tor­ship pro­gramme to en­sure they set­tle smoothly into the new busi­ness world,” he said.

MMB Cor­po­rate Af­fairs Direc­tor Nthati Moorosi also said the busi­ness idea’s viability and its po­ten­tial em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties were some of the fac­tors they would con­sider.

“MMB will also en­gage men­tors to guide the plan­ning process and mon­i­tor­ing as well as as­sist­ing with the nec­es­sary im­ple­men­ta­tion,” Ms Moorosi said.

“Our goal is to pro­duce busi­nesses that are prof­itable, sus­tain­able and have the po­ten­tial to grow. We also en­cour­age busi­nesses that can cre­ate jobs for oth­ers.”

In ad­di­tion to the Kick­start ini­tia­tive, Mr Mpedi said MMB was also in­volved in so­cial in­vest­ment and tack­ling al­co­hol abuse. The brew­ery has also em­barked on a re­tailer devel­op­ment pro­gramme which fo­cuses on train­ing small en­ter­prises trad­ing in their bev­er­ages with busi­ness man­age­ment skills.

“In the past fi­nan­cial year, we have been able to train 41 re­tail­ers from Maseru and among those who ben­e­fit­ted from the train­ing were young peo­ple who own bars and restau­rants,” Mr Mpedi said.

“We care about the com­mu­ni­ties we op­er­ate in and con­tinue to ap­peal to con­sumers of our prod­ucts to en­joy them re­spon­si­bly through dif­fer­ent cam­paigns and dif­fer­ent chan­nels of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.”

The launch cer­e­mony was also at­tended by Gen­der, Youth and Sports Min­is­ter Mathi­beli Mokhothu, the min­istry’s Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary Ma­jara Mo­lapo, Le­sotho Na­tional Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion Public Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer Nt­si­uoa Sekete, BEDCO Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Robert Likhang among oth­ers.

MMB MD tom Mpedi (left) speaks as Gen­der, Youth and sports Min­is­ter Mathi­beli Mokhothu (right) looks on dur­ing the Kick­start launch yes­ter­day.

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