MASERU – Globalization and access to worldwide markets has enabled streams of innovative and disruptive business ideas, models and practices, allowing entrepreneurs to embrace and benefit from opportunity corridors for both global investment and growth opportunities
It is for the advancement of these that Relationships Inspiring Social Enterprises Connect (rise Connect) in collaboration with The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN) hosted networking event for entrepreneurs, corporates, professionals, and investors took place at rise International at Happy Villa on Thursday in Maseru.rise Connect is an initiative that creates a platform for young entrepreneurs where they can access resources that they otherwise do not have access to.
The network session was held as way of creating a platform for building relevant relationships for the growth of Basotho enterprises.Speaking at the event, rise Connect country director, Reitumetse Nthako, said they aim at developing training and solutions that can address local needs and contribute to economic development.
“We believe in the importance of a world where sustainable social businesses, created by local entrepreneurs, are provided with resources, knowledge, and the professional community needed to be successful and transformational in their communities,” she added.Nthako continued that this networking event they started in 2021 to primarily cater to young Basotho entrepreneurs to connect to their potential partner, investors, and mentors, while also providing their businesses with the essential boost they need.
This is in alignment with celebrating the years of operation in Lesotho, an exciting time and that “we intend to host this event quarterly, to help hundreds of Basotho small enterprises reach their full potential.”From TEN, executive director Stephen Monyamane indicated that through the collaboration Basotho can improve entrepreneurship in the country.Monyamane said he believed that the collaboration was bound for great heights because the two hold similar values, particularly in the collective effort to build the community.
“The impact of bringing resources together cannot be overstated and that’s why we are pleased as TEN to be part of rise Connect,” Monyamane continued.On behalf of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Chaba Mokuku, revealed the imminent commencement of a ministerial project backed by the World Bank that is going to increase access to finance for SME’S and business starters.One of the entrepreneurs who participated in the network session, Linkeng Ntšaba from Legacy Brands, said the session was very eye opening and expose them to broader aspects of entrepreneurship.
For the World Bank Consultant, Grace Legodi said, “it is amazing to see young people engaging in entrepreneurship initiatives and not waiting to be hired, that says Lesotho is slowly getting there.”As a platform for young entrepreneurs to access resources that they otherwise do not have to, rise Connect also increases access to resources for business incubation, market access, and more.
Rise Connect is a United States and Lesotho registered non-profit social enterprise.After seven years of working in Southern and Eastern Africa, and having experienced how under-resourced local social entrepreneurs are in rural and semi-rural environments, Daniela Gusman teamed up with two architects Pedro Clarke and Luca Astorri as well as entrepreneur Oliver Needs, president of BOND Events, to found rise.
Resources for business incubation, market access, and more. rise Connect has been an online platform since 2021 and now in collaboration with TEN, The Entrepreneurs Network, this networking event is being hosted in person for the very first time with the aim of connecting start-ups to potential partners and investors and creating a platform for building relevant relationships for the growth of Basotho enterprises.
The event was preceded by an info session on the Innovation Bridge Portal (IBP) 500 Programme, an initiative of IBP in partnership with the World Bank Group, with the objective to provide bespoke solutions to help with a young entrepreneur’s business development.Speaking on the IBP, CSIR manager Michelle Harding said the IBP team is appreciative of rise’s approach to supporting entrepreneurs in Lesotho.
“Being involved in the event has given the IBP team a great perspective of the high quality of entrepreneurs in Lesotho and, we are looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship with the Lesotho ecosystem,” Harding said. rise Connect has been piloting an innovative learning-by-doing program in Lesotho called in loco since 2017 with a view to expanding to other African countries in the future.