ENRICH Stores, a locally-owned chain store opened its first branch at Ha Mafafa in Maseru last Friday.
The chain store is a subsidiary of Enrich Holdings, a holding company owned by over 1 200 Basotho shareholders who have raised M4 million capital to fund the ground-breaking project.
The company raised the funding by selling company shares to the public at the cost of M1 500 per share.
One of Enrich Holdings directors, Maine Maine, said they plan to grow the local economy by establishing many different businesses including filling stations that will significantly impact economic development and job creation.
The store currently employs 20 workers but the number is expected to increase to over 50 once its bakery and butchery sections start operating in the next few months.
He said their project intends to dilute the domination of the local economy by multi-international companies to increase money flow within the economy.
Mr Maine said the company plans to open several branches around the country and they would need to raise about M30 million for the growth exercise.
“We started this company after observing that there were a few Basotho operating large businesses,” Mr Maine said.
“Most people in the country cite lack of financial resources as a constraint hindering their business ventures. But we see many multi-national companies opening in Lesotho and making millions in profit.
“So, this proves that it is not true that there is no money in Lesotho, and the key to realising that lies in our ability as individuals to come together to raise business resources.
“Most of these powerful multi-nationals operating in Lesotho and many other countries were formed by people coming together to raise capital.
“We have decided to follow that same business model to establish our project and also grow to become multinational company in future.”
He said the is planning to go toe to toe in meeting the quality standards set by industry leaders.
“We are going to sell everything that is sold by the leading retailers and maintain the highest level of professionalism and quality of our products.”
The company plans to empower local farmers by providing them with a secure market to sell their produce.
“We have noted with concern that many established vegetable farmers are struggling to sell their produce due to lack of secure markets. We are going to encourage Basotho to be the suppliers of our most of our fresh produce by guiding them on how to produce based on acceptable standards for our market.
“This means we are going to facilitate the growth of the agricultural sector which will create a significant number of jobs in the country. There is no reason for importing fresh agricultural produce when it can be produced locally.”
He said the project has to date received overwhelming support from Basotho within and outside the country who wish to be part of it in different ways.
He said there was a wealth of skills among their shareholders, which will be critical in operating the business. Among its ranks are professions such as legal practitioners, lecturers, accountants, police officers and experienced chain store managers among others.
“We have been surprised by the support of people from different disciplines who have thrown their weight behind the project.
“We have a wide range of skilled professionals sitting in our board of directors who will ensure that the business is managed properly to ensure security of our shareholders’ funds,” Mr Maine said.