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There is a powerful woman of some kind lurking in all of us! And this month, I feel like a superwoman – a woman who can vault the wall with cat-like agility.

But it’s almost month-end and fear is crippling; we are to abdicate our thrones and, for some, a husband is yet to be angry and quick with his hand.

We are to remain slaves of our past, slaves to being underlings because there is just one problem: When it comes down to it, it has not yet dawned on us, women, that we are more than how we think of ourselves.  We refuse to challenge the conventional wisdom.

If there is anything women’s month has taught me it is that we are powerful beyond measure!

I know many strong and proud women who never move from their ground-level stall as the sun burns their children and the flies torture their eyes when they haven’t managed to make a sale. Pity the same women know everything about their flaws; nothing about their strengths.

It is time we focus on self-improvement and overcoming challenges rather than seeing our mistakes as the product of insurmountable personal flaws. With that new attitude we can be the best there is, even in business.

Hear this out: according to the Marketing to Women Conference, eighty-five percent of buying decisions are made by women. This is a massive market segment that you can’t ignore.

Why?  You are a woman and you can easily identify women’s needs and make them feel special. Doesn’t that make you think about starting your own business?

Yes, it’s a known fact that starting a truly sustainable business – one that generates an income to live on, or adds an existing in a way that improves a lifestyle – is hard work. So, be prepared to fail in all sorts of ways.

For many moms, failure is a scary thought – the cost of a childcare is a major factor in career decisions making pay-cuts a luxury of the relatively young and unattached. I know women who long to have autonomy in their work, or be more creative with new projects but are scared to leave their day to day job.

If you are one of them worry not: Big companies are cottoning on the fact that if they allow their employees more freedom to create their perfect career, be intrapreneus, they can hang on to them, and then benefit from these new skills or ideas. And, if the idea works, it could mean a bonus or promotion.  So, an intrapreneur is an “in-house” entrepreneur.

I just love it. No more spending hours helping your boss prepare for an important meeting, which he aces but fails to acknowledge your contribution. Forget about managing-up (making your boss look good in an effort to enhance your career) – well, I don’t think it always works – do your thing, intrapreneurship is the solution.

But, intrapreneur or entrepreneur, you still have to work hard. And it would be wise to remember that history is littered with examples of entrepreneurs and outstanding ideas that required several drop stitches on their grand tapestry.

If your company does not offer that opportunity and are willing to take all the risks involved in starting a business but minimize them, well there is something you can do to minimize the costs of starting a business.  Ever heard of a work hub? If not, you may ask, What is a work hub? Collaborative work spaces.

They are open-plan spaces where entrepreneurs and sole traders can rent work space, network and collaborate with other like-minded workers. Great news is, renting a desk is much cheaper than renting office space.

As if that is not enough, users say it can boost your business by five to 50% because of new business opportunities, new skills learnt, and mentoring from other workers.

It will do you good to remember: it doesn’t have to cost the earth to start a business. Some of the biggest businesses have started from home – think about Bill Gates – in the founder’s own time, with start-up funds of a few thousand rands, dollars, whatever currency it is. So, you can start from home, with a few thousand maloti and in a few years run an empire.

I wish you all the luck in the world. You will succeed and these three tips will guarantee you that: believe that hard work can and will lead to improvement; have confidence that you are at the right place that is you are where you belong; and belief that what you are doing is valuable and relevant to your goal.”

Times are tough, everybody knows that, but this does not mean it’s the end of the world. Regard these challenges as an opportunity to find new exciting solutions of doing business. And don’t abdicate your throne, get into the month of September with a plan!

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Short courses for ex-mineworkers



THE Lesotho Diamond Academy has introduced mining short courses, particularly to ex-mineworkers, to help them re-enter the mining sector.
The Essential Introductory Courses, which will run for two weeks, will start from June this year. The courses are meant particularly for people who worked in mines in South Africa.

The Academy’s CEO, Relebohile Molefe, unveiled the new courses during the graduation of 18 students last week, four of whom are now armed with Cutting and Polishing certificates while 14 graduated with Rough Diamond Evaluation certificates.

The new courses include the Essential Certificate in Diamond Grading and the Essential Certificate in Diamond Evaluation.

“The decision to offer these courses aligns with the Academy’s dedication to bridge the gap and ensure that individuals with valuable experience can seamlessly reintegrate into the diamond and jewelry industry,” Molefe said.

“By providing short courses, the academy does not only impart essential skills but also contributes to the sector’s growth by reactivating experienced individuals who had lost access to the industry due to no formal documents showing their experience in the industry,’’ she said.

During the graduation celebration, Molefe also unveiled a new sponsorship programme for various courses.

One outstanding student previously sponsored, who demonstrated exceptional proficiency in Rough Diamond Evaluation, was granted a fully funded bursary to further his studies into Advanced Certificate in Round Diamond Brilliantering.

In pursuit of its multifaceted objectives, one of which is to serve as a catalyst for employers in the diamond and jewelry sector to devise skills development strategies, the Academy is set to sponsor four additional students in the upcoming intake starting from February 15.

Two of these bursaries will afford a 30 percent discount on overall fees for two students progressing from Cutting and Polishing to advanced studies in Rough Diamond Evaluation.

Two will be fully funded bursaries to study for a Certificate in Diamond Cutting and Polishing.

Additionally, the institution will extend two fully funded bursaries to the public, fostering inclusivity and expanding opportunities.

The Academy says it plans to announce the search for two deserving Basotho individuals on its social media pages and website.

“Importantly, the bursary programme bears no age restrictions, reflecting a commitment to fairness and inclusiveness, ensuring that opportunities are accessible to all, irrespective of age,” it says in a statement.

The Academy says it seeks “to be a dynamic force in shaping the industry, not just within national borders, but also on regional and international platforms”.

“The emphasis on competitiveness within these markets underscores the institution’s commitment to producing graduates who are not only proficient but also globally competitive,” the statement reads.

“The recent graduation ceremony symbolises a milestone in the Academy’s journey. The success of its students is a testament to the quality of education and the foresight embedded in the curriculum.”

The Academy says its decision to sponsor further education for outstanding performers reflects a belief in nurturing talent and contributing to the continuous improvement of the diamond industry.

The Lesotho Diamond Academy was founded by the late Mpalipali Molefe, a prominent educator, diamond trader and an MP, who recognised the imperative to elevate professionalism in the diamond industry.

Staff Reporter

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Bank hands over uniforms to students



THE Lesotho Post Bank donated uniforms to students at Leqele High School worth a staggering M60 000 as part of its Back-To-School campaign.
The bank said it did this “to keep needy children in school and to promote their education”.

A teacher at the school, Tšepo Semethe, said the uniforms will likely motivate the students to work harder in their studies.

Semethe insisted on giving the bank the names of the students so that it could check their performance at the end of the year.

“At Leqele High School, we work very hard because what we want is excellence above all. To us, hard work pays,” he said.

The bank’s Chief Risk Officer, Molefi Khama, said they are getting old, they will soon retire and Lesotho Post Bank will be in the hands of these children.

He pleaded with the students to work harder.

“This is why we decided to come here to support the students in their education so that when coming to school, they should be confident,” Khama said.

“We are watching you and waiting on you,” he said.

The school’s head prefect, Tholoana Monatsi, said from now on, “no student will be identified by what they wear”.

“(Lesotho) Post Bank made us one and we thank them for that because what we wear cannot stand before our education. We indeed thank you and forever you will hold special places in our hearts,” she said.

A parent, ’Marorisang Latela, said they were very grateful for the gift from Lesotho Post Bank adding that they must also donate to other schools.

Minister of Trade, Mokethi Shelile, promised to go back to the school to discuss how the children could learn in comfortable surroundings.

Relebohile Tšepe


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Mamello School of Special Needs wins prize



MAMELLO School of Special Needs is the first-place winner of Standard Lesotho Bank’s Scaled-Up Pitching Den held at Maseru Avani on Tuesday.
The school has secured a grand prize for an all-expenses-paid trip to Kenya to participate as a finalist representing Lesotho at the Standard Bank Africa Awards.

The school, pioneered in 2020 during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic through Zoom classes, deals with children who live with conditions such as autism, attachment disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) dyslexia, Down syndrome and slow learners.

STKTM Solutions claimed the second-place spot, receiving a commendable M10 000, while Masia Farms secured third place and a M5 000 prize.

Pheello Masia of Masia Farms, thanked Standard Lesotho Bank for backing their vision and that of other Basotho entrepreneurs.

He acknowledged that the bank’s faith in their endeavours serves as a source of inspiration, propelling them to work harder and foster growth within the community.

The event, aimed at fortifying support and fostering regional integration for Basotho entrepreneurs across the African continent, showcased the bank’s commitment to driving the growth of Lesotho.

Malatola Phothane, Head of Enterprise Banking at Standard Lesotho Bank, set the tone in his welcoming remarks.

“As Standard Lesotho Bank, through business and commercial banking, we strive to turn possibilities into opportunities,” Phothane said.

“Lesotho is our home, and we drive her growth,” he said.

His words resonated with the bank’s dedication to nurturing local talent and fostering economic development.

Phothane acknowledged the eight finalists, commending them for their resilience and passion for their businesses.

He emphasised how each entrepreneur had stood their ground, displaying knowledge and unwavering commitment.

The recognition not only highlighted the achievements of the finalists but also underscored the bank’s role in recognising and uplifting the entrepreneurial spirit within the community.

Aliciah Motšoane, founder of Prestige Furnitures and Sentebale Gap Funeral Services, played a significant role at the event as a motivational speaker, sharing her entrepreneurial journey filled with challenges and triumphs.

She recounted her humble beginnings when she was selling bread in high school, leading to the establishment of Prestige Furnitures in 1998.

Despite facing a significant setback after her shop was burnt down during the riots and incurring a loss of M5 million, Motšoane never gave up.

She said business is always a demanding endeavour adding that it needs hard work and a unique mindset.

She urged entrepreneurs to embrace their roots, seek inspiration, and persevere through challenges.

The keynote speaker, the bank’s Head of Business and Commercial Clients, Keketso Makara, said the bank is committed to foster a thriving business environment, highlighting the pivotal role of youth collaboration across diverse economic sectors.

Makara said their mandate aims to empower youths in steering the private sector towards growth, contributing to economic diversification.

Makara urged the eight finalists to actively involve bankers in refining their proposals for maximum impact on economic stimulation and sustainable development.

The bank said the Scaled-Up Pitching Den not only served as a stage for entrepreneurs to present their ventures but also acted as a driving force for networking, collaboration, and collective empowerment.

Staff Reporter


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