‘MMB’S Kick­start touch­ing lives pos­i­tively’

Lesotho Times - - Busi­ness - Bereng Mpaki

MA­LUTI Moun­tain Brew­ery (MMB) Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Tom Mpedi says the com­pany’s youth en­trepreneur­ship de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme Kick­start has made a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact in the lives of Ba­sotho.

Mr Mpedi made the re­mark dur­ing a re- cent tour of five busi­nesses that ben­e­fited from the Kick­start project. The pro­gramme is part of a Sabmiller-wide Youth Em­pow­er­ment Pro­gramme of which MMB is an af- fil­i­ate com­pany. Kick­start trains and fi­nances bud­ding en­trepreneurs se­lected through an ap­pli­ca­tion process by an in­de­pen­dent team of busi­ness ex­perts.

The win­ning ven­tures were Veg­gie Shack, a hy­dro­pon­ics busi­ness that pro­duces veg­eta­bles; House of Thethana, a fash­ion de­sign house pro­duc­ing printed fab­rics and ac­ces­sories; PEMS 24 Seven, an emer­gency med­i­cal ser­vices com­pany; Lekaota Me­dia which pro­duces an en­trepreneur­ship mag­a­zine and record­ing stu­dio Les Rhythms.

Mr Mpedi said he was im­pressed by the progress made by the ben­e­fi­cia­ries so far, al­though there was room for im­prove­ment.

“I am very im­pressed and en­cour­aged by what I have seen to­day. We vis­ited five projects, and I can safely say they are likely to con­tinue sus­tain­ing them­selves,” he said.

“While there are ar­eas still need­ing to be ad­dressed, they all demon­strated the abil­ity to sus­tain them­selves go­ing for­ward.”

The MD noted that if the en­ter­prises were run as per­sonal projects and not com­pa­nies, they would not re­alise their full po­ten­tial.

“What I picked up dur­ing the tour is most of the Kick­starters see th­ese busi­nesses as per­sonal pet projects,” he said.

“I think they need to think be­yond that. They need to re­alise that find­ing a part­ner can help them to ac­cess cap­i­tal.”

Mr Mpedi said the project had brought about real change in the lives of young Ba­sotho by fos­ter­ing pri­vate-sec­tor led growth built upon en­ter­prises.

“We be­lieve we have touched a lot of lives as Ma­luti Moun­tain Brew­ery and the Kick­start project,” he said, ad­ding that the sec­ond round of grant dis­burse­ments would be­gin soon.

“Our stated ob­jec­tive is to al­le­vi­ate un­em­ploy­ment and re­duce poverty while cre­at­ing em­ploy­ment. This is driven by the fact that Le­sotho has high rates of un­em­ploy­ment with a lot of univer­sity grad­u­ates fail­ing to find jobs.

“Some peo­ple even have two de­grees, but they are un­em­ployed. That’s how dire the sit­u­a­tion is. So, Kick­start was meant to close that gap.”

On be­half of the ben­e­fi­cia­ries, PEMS 24 Seven’s Ret­selisit­soe Mohanoe, said the M100 000 they re­ceived from the brew­ery had helped them ac­quire an am­bu­lance ve­hi­cle and high qual­ity equip­ment for their emer­gency med­i­cal ser­vices.

“The grant also en­sured that the com­pany in­creased its staff com­ple­ment from six to nine,” he said.

“I see a very bright fu­ture for this busi­ness as I am lucky enough to be work­ing with like-minded peo­ple who are will­ing to put the ef­fort in tak­ing this com­pany for­ward.”

MMB Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Tom Mpedi.

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