By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – Friday, February 3 is the grand finale for the Bacha Entrepreneurship competition where the winners will walk away with a share from M2 million.

This Standard Lesotho Bank has said in a statement.

Bacha Entrepreneurship Project is a joint initiative of the Standard Lesotho Bank, Revenue Services Lesotho (RSL), and Basotho Enterprise Development Corporation.

“To conclude the 2022 applications, the combined seed capital stands at M2 million up for grabs. The Project invites ambitious youth entrepreneurs across the nation between the ages of 21 and 35, who have completed either COSC, LGCSE and above, or who have been in business for at least two (2) years to submit their business proposals with preference given to enterprises in tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, technology, and renewable energy as these are national priorities.

“Emerging finalists will not only have access to the lump sum amounts for funding but will be partnered with veteran entrepreneurs who will mentor them for a period of three years,” reads the bank’s statement in pertinent part.

The 25 had been drawn from the pitching sessions held between January 9 and 10 earlier this month and in the final, the top 10 finalists will be awarded prizes.

The journey in this competition is characterized by different activities from submissions of business plans, attendance of the intensive entrepreneurial and training workshops, and pitching of the business idea before the panel of adjudicators.

One of the hopefuls who is contesting in this completion is the director of a chalk manufacturing company, S & M Solutions Pty Ltd, Selebalo Maama said: “Winning this competition will go a long way in expanding the business as initially planned before COVID-19. By winning the competition I would be able to buy necessary materials and employ enough people to grow the business.”

Falimehang Supermarket, Spetzo’s Pizza, and Linford Vodka are some of the established business who were borne out of this project.

“Bacha Entrepreneurship project is a collaborative effort by BEDCO, RSL and Standard Lesotho Bank, that seeks to redress unemployment amongst the youth. It intends to breed a crop of entrepreneurs who can inspire change and prosperity by becoming the creators of jobs and not job seekers.

“This project sets the stage for the youth to shape and determine the economic agenda of their country, especially at a time when unemployment for the youth population in Africa is increasing at a rate higher than in other parts of the world,” further reads the statement.

Launched in 2014, Bacha Entrepreneurship Project had in the last five years, over M5 million has been invested towards Basotho entrepreneurs.