By Mots’elisi Sekonyela
The BAM Group Foundation (BGF) on February 9th launched a five month entrepreneurship development project through the group’s CEO, Nts’epeng Ts’ita Tikiso in Maseru at a session held for existing and aspiring entrepreneurs.
This project is designed to take place every two weeks from the month of February to the month of July. The aim is to develop the economy of the country by giving existing and aspiring entrepreneurs guidance and tools that are essential in strategically moving their businesses from small, informal trade to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
This will be done through inviting various stakeholders in different sectors to give insight and expertise that may be lacking amongst the attendees. Tikiso says developing the private sector in Lesotho is essential as most developed countries have the backbone of their economies as the MSMEs. She says currently Lesotho has only over 60% of these enterprises, and that is not enough.
The 2-hour launch entailed an introduction of the project as well as a brief presentation on the basic tools necessary for a successful business by the CEO. She indicated how the high rate of unemployment amongst the youth should not be a government problem alone, but the skills of sustainable entrepreneurship should be imparted on the business owners in order to grow the private sector and create employment.
Over 50 existing and aspiring entrepreneurs in attendance stated their expectations in terms of what they hope to benefit from these seminars as well as stated their grievances with the current state of their businesses.
Ramotlule Moshoeshoe, an aspiring entrepreneur from Ha-Mabote said the biggest challenge he has observed with Basotho entrepreneurs is the hand-to-mouth mentality that they get into business with as opposed to scalable and sustainable entrepreneurship that creates jobs and grows the economy. Adding to this, Mampai Mokhothu who said she has started many small businesses that did not succeed admitted that she did not conduct a proper market research and failed to scale her businesses to ensure sustainability.
In response to these grievances, Tikiso identified some of the areas in which the entrepreneurs may be lacking and how they may remedy the situation.
“At the top of a successful business should be an innovative entrepreneur who is able to be at the forefront of their competition. Confidence in your vision and business should be greater than the criticism around you. The ability to get past hard-hitting challenges and take them as a learning curve instead of a failure is what makes a tenacious entrepreneur,” emphasised Tikiso.
Proper cash flow management and proper duty delegation in a business were also identified to be essential success tools for the entrepreneurs to heed.
Tikiso also made the attendants aware that they can get free guidance and incubation programs from corporations like the Basotho Enterprise Development Corporation (BEDCO). She urged them to also be on the lookout for the corporation’s annual business plan competitions that could see their businesses get seed capitals.