Min­is­ter Phori lauds en­trepreneurs’ re­silience

Sunday Express - - Business Journal -

THE Min­is­ter of Small Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment, Co­op­er­a­tives and Mar­ket­ing, Cha­lane Phori, has ap­plauded the re­silience demon­strated by the small and medium busi­ness sec­tors dur­ing the harsh con­di­tions it has op­er­ated un­der in the re­cent years.

Mr Phori was speak­ing at the of­fi­cial open­ing of a five-day En­trepreneur­ship Expo or­gan­ised by the Ba­sotho En­ter­prises De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (BEDCO) in part­ner­ship with The En­trepreneur­ship Net­work (TEN), which was held at the Maseru Mall on Mon­day.

TEN is a plat­form that show­cases pro­grammes and ini­tia­tives aimed at grow­ing an en­tre­pre­neur­ial ecosys­tem that would pave way for job cre­ation, ac­cel­er­ate in­no­va­tion, and strengthen good en­tre­pre­neur­ial and pro­fes­sional prac­tice to small busi­nesses in Le­sotho.

The net­work op­er­ates across all sec­tors and in­dus­tries and in­tends to make Le­sotho a more en­trepreneur-friendly so­ci­ety by host­ing reg­u­lar events that would help to bridge the gap be­tween the as­pi­ra­tions of the en­tre­pre­neur­ial com­mu­nity, in­vestors, clients and pol­icy mak­ers.

“I am proud and hum­bled to have over a hun­dred Ba­sotho led ini­tia­tives that have shown great re­silience through the eco­nomic tur­moil ex­pe­ri­enced in the coun­try as a re­sult of a num­ber of fac­tors in­clud­ing the volatil­ity of the Loti and an EI Nino in­duced-drought that hit our econ­omy hard in 2015/16. That you have sur­vived this shows that our pri­vate sec­tor is strong,” Mr Phori said.

Mr Phori thanked BEDCO for the sup­port it con­tin­ues pro­vid­ing Ba­sotho en­trepreneurs to fa­cil­i­tate the im­ple­men­ta­tion of govern­ment poli­cies and pro- grammes.

“We ac­knowl­edge the crit­i­cal role played by the pri­vate sec­tor in com­ple­ment­ing govern­ment’s ef­forts to­wards grow­ing the econ­omy. This is a part­ner­ship we take very se­ri­ously, hence our strate­gies to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that is con­ducive for sus­tain­able busi­nesses,” he said.

Mr Phori added the Expo came at a ripe time when the govern­ment has com­mit­ted to in­vest more in mak­ing it easy for small busi­nesses to ac­cess fi­nance, sup­port net­work­ing and var­i­ous other de­vel­op­ments that are crit­i­cal to the growth of busi­nesses.

“The Govern­ment of Le­sotho is com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing and ex­pand­ing busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple to en­sure in­creased job cre­ation and poverty re­duc­tion.”

In some of the min­istry’s strate­gies that are tar­get­ing job cre­ation, Mr Phori said, they will pro­mote and sup­port the es­tab­lish­ment of the co­op­er­a­tive en­ter­prises, con­struct mar­ket cen­tres and slaugh­ter houses, and re­fur­bish BEDCO es­tates and the Le­sotho Co­op­er­a­tives Col­lege.

He fur­ther ex­plained that through BEDCO, which is the min­istry’s main part­ner in the Busi­ness Expo, they are com­mit­ted to con­tinue de­vel­op­ing the ca­pac­ity of mi­cro, small and medium en­ter­prises while at the same time in­ten­si­fy­ing dis­trict tours aimed at en­gag­ing en­trepreneurs and prospec­tive busi­ness peo­ple. This ini­tia­tive is ex­pected to stim­u­late the spirit of en­trepreneur­ship and en­cour­age busi­ness own­ers to plan for growth.

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