En­trepreneur­ship pro­ject launched

Lesotho Times - - Business - Bereng Mpaki

THE se­cond in­stal­ment of the Bacha En­trepreneur­ship Pro­ject was of­fi­cially launched this week with a call for youths to de­velop cre­ative and orig­i­nal busi­ness pro­pos­als.

In his ad­dress dur­ing the launch of the pro­ject in Maseru, Le­sotho Rev­enue Au­thor­ity (LRA) Act­ing Com­mis­sioner-gen­eral, Ad­vo­cate Reale­boha Mathaba said cre­ativ­ity and orig­i­nal­ity would help to en­sure the pro­pos­als de­velop into con­crete and bank­able busi­ness mod­els.

The Bacha En­trepreneur­ship Pro­ject is a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort by the LRA, Stan­dard Le­sotho Bank and Ba­sotho En­ter­prise De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion to stem es­ca­lat­ing youth un­em­ploy­ment by ca­pac­i­tat­ing young peo­ple with en­trepreneur­ship skills.

In the pro­ject’s first in­stall­ment, three youth-owned busi­nesses im­pressed ad­ju­di­ca­tors to walk away with M500 000 start-up cap­i­tal last Au­gust. Kemet De­signs and Cre­ations, Agro Or­ganic and Shopa Le­sotho were awarded M174 698.73, M165 575.00 and M159 725.40 re­spec­tively af­ter their busi­ness pro­pos­als were deemed the most in­no­va­tive and vi­able among the 20 in con­tention.

“With the launch that we are wit­ness­ing to­day, I wish to take this op­por­tu­nity to ap­peal to young un­em­ployed grad­u­ates be­tween the ages of 21 to 35 to grab this op­por- tu­nity with both hands and fol­low their dreams. We will walk ev­ery step with them,” Ad­vo­cate Mathaba said, adding that ap­pli­cants should ap­ply be­fore the 14 March 2016 dead­line.

“I urge them to tap into their in­no­va­tive and orig­i­nal­ity skills and avoid the copy­cat men­tal­ity. They need to think out­side the box as they de­velop their pro­pos­als.

“A busi­ness idea of your own is one that you will be able to fol­low through. But, if it is some­one else’s, it will get lost along the way. We there­fore call for cre­ativ­ity that goes along with sus­tain­abil­ity and po­ten­tial for job op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Qual­i­fy­ing grad­u­ates must have com­pleted their stud­ies and not 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.

Ad­vo­cate Mathaba, who spoke on be­half of the three part­ners, also re­vealed that to date the win­ning ven­tures had cre­ated 10 job op­por­tu­ni­ties for other young peo­ple, al­though one of them was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some vi­a­bil­ity chal­lenges. He said they would en­sure the projects were as­sisted to en­sure they all stayed afloat.

“We re­main com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that th­ese busi­nesses achieve the ob­jec­tives they were in­tended for,” said Ad­vo­cate Mathaba.

One of the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the first phase, Shopa Le­sotho Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Mpho Ra­mataboee, said Mr Ra­mataboee, said it was not easy to move from be­ing pre­vi­ously un­em­ployed to cre­at­ing jobs for oth­ers, and they are count­ing on the con­tin­ued sup­port of the three part­ners to see them through.

Shopa Le­sotho is an e-com­merce com­pany that op­er­ates a plat­form for both in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal buy­ers and sellers to ex­change goods and ser­vices.

From left: BEDCO act­ing CEO Masech­aba Mahlapha, LRA act­ing Com­mis­sioner-gen­eral Ad­vo­cate reale­boha Mathaba and Stan­dard Le­sotho Bank CEO Mpho Vum­bukani dur­ing the launch cer­e­mony on Tues­day.

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