SLB project empowers women entrepreneurs

MATHATISI SEBUSI

MASERU – Standard Lesotho Bank has embarked on a project to empower women entrepreneurs by providing them with practical business education, business tools and resources to help them run and grow their businesses. This, it does to entrench and promote participation of women in the mainstream business and entrepreneurship.

The programme which is adapted from the “Lioness of Africa Lean-In” is one of Standard Lesotho Bank’s flagship Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiative. It seeks to empower women entrepreneurs by providing them with practical business education, business tools, and resources to help them run and grow their businesses. Additionally, the programme will engage support and partner with other women empowerment organisations with the same mission.

According to Standard Lesotho Bank’s Head of Relationship Banking Mahlompho Mojakhomo, Standard Lesotho Bank desires to localise the initiative by engaging a local implementing partner to ensure that the programme caters for the needs of Basotho women entrepreneurs and yields the desired impact.

“We recognise and applaud the strides of stakeholders in supporting women entrepreneurs, and it is only fitting for us to partner and collaborate as much as possible with such for maximised impact and sustainability of our endeavours”, Mojakhomo said.

The programme, which focuses on women, also fulfils the bank’s objectives on the pillar of diversity and inclusion and responds to the bank’s strategy of developing Basotho businesses. Mojakhomo said localisation of the programme could not have come at a better time as the Covid-19 pandemic has seriously disrupted women-dominated enterprises in Lesotho.

She said due to the pandemic, most businesses are going through a period of redefining their purpose and responding to the disruptions to position themselves for success, therefore through the programme, Standard Lesotho Bank will accelerate its efforts to support women entrepreneurs through the transition.

She said some of the first initiatives will be launching a naming competition for the programme while hosting an online women’s conference in August 2021 in celebration of Women’s Month.

She revealed that in the last five years, the bank has championed development of Basotho-owned businesses through initiatives that include but are not limited to Bacha Entrepreneurship Project focusing on youth entrepreneurship development and the Local Supplier Development Programme, which supports Basotho farmers.

To ensure success of the project, the bank has appointed Inspire Innovation Business Consultants to spearhead the programme. Founder of Inspire Innovation Likeleli Monyamane, expressed her excitement at the company’s appointment as implementing partner of the programme. “We are very passionate about women empowerment and have a track record of designing programmes aimed at capacitating entrepreneurs in Lesotho.

“We look forward to delivering an impactful initiative through engaging with and co-designing the programme with its beneficiaries,” she said. Inspire Innovation Business Consultants is a woman-owned company that has been involved in flagship entrepreneurship development programmes in Lesotho in the past few years. The company provides training programmes and business and management advisory services to companies in Lesotho with a keen interest in contributing to the development of the SMME sector, especially to women business owners who reportedly make up three-quarters of SMME owners in Lesotho.

 

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