BASOTHO Enterprise Development Corporation (BEDCO) this week launched a business plan completion for young innovative entrepreneurs aiming to develop their high potential business ideas.
The competition seeks to support the growth and development of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME’s). It is a joint African Development Bank (AfDB)-Lesotho government project called the Economic Diversification Support Project (EDSP) – Promoting Enterprise Development.
The competition will take an initial 110 participants before whittling them down to 10 who will have an opportunity to win various cash prizes amounting to M1 million.
BEDCO’s acting chief executive officer Pesha Shale, said the competition focuses on developing small enterprises since the sector has potential to create more jobs than large enterprises.
“The average of jobs created by the small business sector is over 70 percent globally,” Mr Shale said during the launch of the competition.
“This project is therefore meant to help us promote enterprise development by focusing on the small enterprise sector.”
He said the government project is premised on the high poverty rate and unemployment challenges that the country is struggling to address.
“During the graduation time of tertiary students some of us get troubled because we know that our system is unable to absorb all the graduates.”
Mr Shale said the country was unable to create jobs partly because of heavy reliance on the public sector.
He said addressing the problems was long overdue to ensure that the private sector is drives the country’s economy while creating employment.
Mr Shale said the training will include improvement of the submitted business plans and business plan pitch among others.
He said the competition targets high potential businesses by youth and women in the priority sectors of manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and renewable energy as per the country’s second National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP II).
The eligible entrepreneurs are indigenous Lesotho citizens working and living in the country, must be over 18 years, must be able to participate in all the competitions activities among others.
Applications open on 12 November and close on 8 December 2019.
For his part, principal secretary in the Ministry of Small Business Development, Cooperative and Marketing Lerata Pekane welcomed the competition and said it would go a long way in improving the country’s MSMEs.
Mr Pekane said while MSME seem to command a dominant share of the job market, they were still far from contributing to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The EDSP project supports the development of MSME’s through distinct work streams like assessment of the current business development service providers market and developing their appropriate market growth strategy.
The project also nurtures start-up businesses and entrepreneurs through strategy development plan implementation for business incubation.