BEDCO launches third phase of BEP

BEDCO launches third phase of BEP

MASERU – THE Basotho Enterprise Development Corporation (BEDCO) launched a third phase of Bacha Entrepreneurship Programme (BEP) yesterday.
BEP is a project driven by BEDCO with the help of Standard Lesotho Bank and the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) with the aim to help young people with tertiary education start businesses.

The first BEP phase was started in 2015 with the intake of 25 youths who were trained in business management and writing business proposals.
At the end of the year three of them passed a test and were given capital to start businesses they had pitched.
The second BEP phase was last year.

Speaking at the launch, the BEDCO chief executive ’Makatleho Matabooe said governments globally recognise a need to promote business for economic growth.
Matabooe said statistics indicate that the youth are most ravaged segment within communities affected by unemployment resulting in poverty.
“Three partners Lesotho Revenue Authority, Standard Lesotho Bank and BEDCO are continually contributing towards achievement of improving entrepreneurship in Lesotho particularly for youth,” Matabooe said.

She said the three institutions realised that youth who graduated from tertiary schools wait for over four years before they can be absorbed into civil service, resulting in being at mercy of civil service sector such that they cannot put their minds on being innovative.

“There is serious need for all key stakeholders in business development to help change the mind-set in encouraging them to participate in private sector,” she said.
“We have said it repeatedly that private sector is the cornerstone of economic development of every country. The youth that BEP is looking for is those individual or groups who are brave enough to break down the traditional mould of being job seekers into becoming their own bosses as well as creating jobs for their communities.”

Matabooe said the three institutions take pride in the fact that BEP is youth centred and advances the economic and business aspirations of the future drivers of the economy.
Last year’s Phase II beneficiary Ntsoaki Mabejane, who studied microbiology at the University of Free State (UOFS), said she applied for the programme early last year and attended a two-week training on business management, financial management and writing a good business proposal.

She is among the 25 top applicants whose business proposals earned them a chance to be trained for one year.
Mabejane’s company, Botanical Wares, has been given M140 000 in capital.
Mabejane’s business is focusing on organic cosmetics.

“Our main challenge was to get traders’ licence which we got later. We have been operating for two weeks now,” Mabejane said.
“We wanted to use local resources to manufacture our products, specifically bee wax, honey and petroleum jelly but failed to get bee wax in the country,” she said.
“We had to go to South Africa in search of the wax.”

Mabejane said she graduated in 2012 and has been looking for a job until BEP helped.
“We are now job providers not job seekers,” she said.

Teboho Moekoa, a beneficiary of the BEP’s first phase, received M174 000 which he says he has used to “buy industrial machines and hire five workers to help us with designing and distribution”.

His company, Kemet Design and Creative, designs and makes exclusive and commercial garments.
“The only challenge we are facing is people are not willing to support local products hence we came up with an affordable commercial line,” Moekoa said.
“Since we started our business we have been able to produce clothes for the Queen,” Moekoa said.
“We made blanket jackets for both of them,” he said.

“We have also produced for Standard Lesotho Bank workers.”Moekoa studied Philosophy and Development Studies at the National University of Lesotho (NUL).
“The project opened doors for me as I am now able to produce for prominent people in the country,” he said.
Lisemelo Lebina, who spoke on behalf BEP’s beneficiaries, said the project has changed lives.

“I applied for the first phase but did not qualify. I did not lose heart and tried again for phase two and succeeded,” Lebina said.
Lebina studied Information Technology at the National University of Lesotho.
She is now engaged in farming business after she received capital from BEP.

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