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BEDCO in five-year strategic plan

Bereng Mpaki

THE Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO) is hoping to use its newly developed five-year strategic plan to turnaround its wanning fortunes.

BEDCO is a public entity mandated to develop Basotho enterprises by assisting in their establishment, promotion and growth. The organisation has been struggling to achieve its mandate and has in response come up with the new strategic plan 2020-2025 to reclaim itself.

BEDCO chief executive officer, Idia Penane said the corporation has undergone an institutional review to diagnose its challenges to inform the development of the new strategic plan.

She said they were currently communicating the strategic plan to various stakeholders and lobbying them for possible partnerships towards enhancing the corporation’s impact. This is being done through a series of stakeholder sessions that are running until Friday at Avani Lesotho. The sessions are in the form of daily meetings which started on Monday.

A fortnight ago, BEDCO also hosted sessions with corporates that include banks.

The on-going sessions include meetings with large retail shops, business development associations, business development service providers and business incubators among others.

“These sessions are meant to give feedback to our various stakeholders to say what we intend to do over the next five years with our new strategic plan,” Ms Penane said.

“There is a general feeling that we are not doing what we are supposed to do, and with these engagements, we have decided to come to the public to say yes we know we have a problem but this what we are doing to solve these problems through implementation of our new strategic plan.”

She said the strategic plan would help to steer the corporation back to the right path of ensuring enterprise development.

“In general, the 2020-2025 strategic plan is a turnaround strategy. We are using the plan to rebuild the organisation to be able to achieve our mandate. We are aware that we have lost relevance in the space we are supposed to operate.”

She said key priority areas under the new strategic plan include enterprise development; financial sustainability, stakeholder collaborations’ organisational effectiveness; and human capital development.

Under enterprise development; BEDCO will develop and implement entrepreneurship programmes in the priority sectors namely agriculture, manufacturing and tourism sector for small businesses.

It will also expand youth entrepreneurship programme (Bacha Entrepreneurship Programme) and develop and implement entrepreneurship programmes for women.

She said some BEDCO’s limiting factors hindering its success include the lack of finances; non-conducive work environment; limited skills; dilapidated infrastructure; inadequate governance processes; weak leadership; weak processes and procedures.

For his part, Puseletso Salae from the Mineworkers Development Agency, said BEDCO must improve its incubation services as businesses were taking too long in the process. This makes BEDCO look as though it is more concerned with generating rental income from the incubates than their development.

Khotso Lepheana, from the Lesotho National Farmers Union (LENAFU) said BEDCO must provide regular marketing platforms for promoting local produce as opposed to holding its expo once annually.

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