Sebabatso Initiative brings Matsa’s dream to life



MASERU – Alida Matsa is one of the 10 youth entrepreneurs selected to participate in the Entrepreneurial Exchange Programme in China, scheduled from this month until June. This opportunity arose through the Prime Minister’s Youth Empowerment Initiative (Sebabatso Initiative Programme), in collaboration with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, which invited young entrepreneurs to apply for this entrepreneurship programme. In an interview, Matsa, the founder of Alida’s Poultry Farm Pty Ltd., shared her journey.

She established the business in 2020 with just 50 chicks and no dedicated infrastructure. Now, she boasts a setup capable of housing 200 chickens per cycle. Matsa also highlighted a significant challenge she faced initially: while she could identify market opportunities, meeting market demands posed a considerable obstacle.

“At the time, my space was too small, and there was a lack of water. To overcome these challenges, I applied for the Smallholder Agriculture Development Project (SADP II) grants, and fortunately, I was selected. With this support, I was able to provide water for the chickens. I believe that the opportunity I received through the Sebabatso initiative will equip me with the necessary skills to further expand my business. I am truly grateful for this opportunity because I believe, as a farmer, I will be able to learn valuable insights from other farmers from different countries who possess higher levels of expertise,” she said.

The Ministry of Gender, Youth, and Social Development, under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s initiative, Sebabatso, held a press conference on Thursday this week. During the event, the office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry introduced the youth entrepreneurs selected to participate in the Entrepreneurial Exchange Programme in China. Minister of Gender, Youth, and Social Development, Pitso Lesaoana, said the objective is to nurture existing youth enterprises in Lesotho.

He said the Sebabatso initiative aims to attract investors, enhance skills, provide training, and organise roadshows to support the growth of youth enterprises. Lesaoana said invitations were sent out approximately four weeks ago through advertisements, resulting in 140 youth applications, out of which only 10 were selected. He noted that all expenses are covered by the People’s Republic of China.

“The selected youth’s companies span across five categories: tourism, dairy and food processing, renewable energy, fisheries, and poultry. Each category will undergo a 14-week training programme in China to enhance their business skills. Departures are staggered, with some leaving on April 9 and the final category departing in June. The ministry plans to issue advertisements in the coming weeks to invite more youth to apply for the next programme,” he said.

Moleboheng Sefali, Senior Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, explained that this year they adopted a different approach to seeking collaboration through the initiative to support youth businesses. She said it was not solely about seed funding but rather fostering collaboration among stakeholders. The aim was to provide youth with training opportunities to enhance their skills and expose their businesses to wider opportunities.

“We partnered with the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL), which contributed M200,000 to the initiative. Additionally, collaborations were established with Lesotho Flour Mills for those in the food processing category and the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA).

“We remain committed to supporting upcoming youth businesses. The Prime Minister’s vision is to see youth flourish in the business sector of the country. The Sebabatso initiative is open to all youth seeking assistance to grow their businesses; it is not bound by a specific start or end date,” she said.

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