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Entrepreneurship Network to host business expo



MASERU – THE Entrepreneurship Network (TEN) will hold an expo for local businesses from November 28 to December 2 at the Maseru Mall.

The TEN’s co-founder, Stephen Monyamane, said the purpose of the expo is to help upcoming businesses take advantage of the emerging opportunities in the local business sector to promote sustainability.

He said they plan to invite government ministries and institutions to share their vision for the next five years.

Monyamane said they want to equip the entrepreneurs to gear up for project around infrastructure development.

Through this expo, the Lesotho Millennium Development Agency (LMDA) through their Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact II project and the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) through Phase II project which will soon start, will be invited to reveal business opportunities necessary for such projects.

Over the next five years, Monyamane says they want to know which business opportunities Basotho should focus on based on the new government’s policies and projects that are in the pipeline.

“This will allow entrepreneurs to focus on businesses which will be useful in such projects,” Monyamane says.

He said they want to understand the landscape and challenges that businesses are facing.

After realising that most of the businesses are not formally registered, they invited the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to sponsor their initiative of a boot camp in the past.

The boot camp took two years from 2018.

All the four commercial banks and service providers such as accountants, marketing consultants and lawyers were invited.

“Entrepreneurs get the first one year of free services in respective of their needs,” he says.

He said in the first unit, more than 60 out of 100 entrepreneurs realised the need for these services and they grew well enough to afford paying for their businesses.

However, due to Covid-19, more than half out of 100 entrepreneurs failed to attend the second unit.

“Those service providers which are part of SMEs now have paying clients over the sponsored SMEs,” he said.

Monyamane said when Covid-19 hit, Standard Lesotho Bank and First National Bank introduced a M1 million Covid-19 Relief fund for entrepreneurs who opened bank accounts with them.

About 20 entrepreneurs benefited from the share of M2 million.

Monyamane said since the organisation was established, they have injected over M6 million to over 2 200 entrepreneurs.

He said over 60 percent are still running while 40 percent failed.

“We live in an era where decisions are made through facts and data,” he said.

He said this project, although it won’t generate any tangible benefits, will allow them to easily attract investors in the near future.

Despite the achievements, he said they heavily rely on companies and corporates to sponsor their events.

He said because of the Covid-19-induced difficulties, many projects don’t have enough capacity to finance their activities.

So they have to find creative ways of bringing out value on limited resources.

Monyamane called for companies and government collaborations so that they can reach more people and make a great impact.

“The majority of people who venture into businesses are driven by poverty,” he says.

He said they want to take out the survival mindset to business mind set to build sustainable businesses.

TEN is a non-profit organisation which seeks to build the ecosystem of sustainable businesses which are investor-ready.

Refiloe Mpobole

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