BEDCO awards 10 enterprises close to M1.3Million



MASERU-Ten small enterprises have been granted funding by the Basotho Enterprise Development Corporation (BEDCO) a“fter successfully completing a six-month business incubation process. The awarded enterprises consist of Pasa Production, Leather Sole Works and Supplies, Motz Fashion Design, Black Hair, Bara Guesthouse, LEMA Agrivets, Mabelebele Dairy Farm, Close Up, Pay Lesotho, and TNM Holdings. A handover ceremony took place at BEDCO’s offices in Maseru this week, where the enterprises received a total funding of about M1.3 million.

This was done under the Competitiveness and Financial Inclusion Project’s (CAFI) entrepreneurship hub and seed financing facility. This 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 under LEAP, NUL Innovation Hub under the National University of Lesotho, Basotho Enterprises Development Cooperation (BEDCO), The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN), and, Gem Institute.

Each of these organizations was awarded M1.9 million, totalling M9.5 million. CAFI which also run the famous Lesotho Enterprise Assistance Program (LEAP), established a Horticulture Incubation Hub in Mahobong, 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, improve Government to Business Services and Financial Inclusion BEDCO as one of the entreprise support organisations (ESO’s) working with CAFI to help develop the technical skills of selected high-potential entreprises and to access seed financing also awarded enterprises under its wing.

During the handover ceremony, Lemphane Lesoli, BEDCO’s executive head of enterprise development, elaborated that beneficiary enterprises were chosen for their growth and dedication to their businesses, aiming to expedite their progress in order to create more job opportunities. He furthr expressed gratitude for being involved in the CAFI project, which contributes to the advancement of BEDCO’s mission.

“We are expecting each of our ten enterprises to put in a serious effort to ensure they generate more revenue, more employment and make sure their businesses become strong to withstand business challenges and grow from strength to strength,” he said.

One of the beneficiaries, Sibusiso Adontši, the managing director of Leather Sole Works and Suppliers, expressed his appreciation for the support received from CAFI and BEDCO, stating that the incubation process has provided valuable business skills and expanded their focus, sparking an interest in exporting. Adontši emphasized the positive impact of this alignment on their understanding of business.

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