10 enterprises awarded M130 000 seed funding



MASERU– The CAFI Enterprise Support Organization (ESO) and The Entrepreneurs Network, operating under the Lesotho Entrepreneurship Hub & Seed Financing Facility, on Wednesday this week awarded US$7 000 (about M134 675.80) to a group of 10 enterprises as seed funding. This signifies a significant achievement in the six-month incubation programme as this group is now able to apply the knowledge and perspectives acquired to their growing businesses, further shaping the entrepreneurial landscape in Lesotho.

The transformative initiative was launched following Lesotho’s successful acquisition of a loan from the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank to execute the Lesotho Competitiveness and Financial Inclusion (CAFI) Project. The main goal of the CAFI Project is to enhance the availability of business support services and financial products for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs, with a special emphasis on women and youth. To gauge the effectiveness of the project, specific indicators have been established.

These include tracking the number of women-owned and youth-owned enterprises benefiting from private sector initiatives, the amount of financing accessed by women-owned enterprises through the programme, and the percentage of women-owned and youth-owned enterprises supported by the programme that experience increased revenue and employment. The overarching goal of this project is to strengthen Lesotho’s emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem and enhance access to early-stage funding for start-ups and innovative SMEs, with a specific emphasis on businesses owned by youth and women.

This will be achieved through the implementation of various activities, such as the establishment of an Entrepreneurship Hub and Seed Financing Facility. These initiatives aim to enhance the quality and range of integrated start-up business support services and improve access to early-stage funding. One of the key deliverables of the project is the incubation of up to 500 start-ups and innovative SMEs over a period of five years. As a result, enterprises and entrepreneurs submitted applications for a six-month incubation period.

This incubation programme was facilitated by five selected Enterprise Support Organizations (ESOs), Namely Limkokwing University, NUL Innovation Hub under the National University of Lesotho, Basotho Enterprises Development Cooperation (BEDCO), The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN), and, Gem Institute. Each of these organisations was awarded M1.9 million, totalling M9.5 million.

CAFI, which also runs the famous Lesotho Enterprise Assistance Program (LEAP), established a

Horticulture Incubation Hub in Mahobong to expand creation of fruits farms building on the successes of Likhothola, Maoamafubelu and Likhetlane. It also establishes a Disaster Risk Financing for MSMEs during emergencies, and improve Government to business services and financial inclusion. According to one of the seed funding recipients Iconics Clothing, the US$7000 injection will boost their production capacity.

“We appreciative for the incredible support from The Entrepreneurs Network, Competitiveness and Financial Inclusion  (CAFI), Ministry of Trade, Industry and Business Development and the World Bank.  This milestone will not only help us expand our operations but also contribute to job creation and play a part in the Lesotho economy. Thank you for being a part of our journey.”

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