Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), which has been mandated with helping Batswana to set up and run their businesses successfully, has stepped up efforts to help entrepreneurs in the SPEDU region.
SPEDU region serves the current political constituencies of Tswapong North, Bobirwa, Mmadinare, Selebi Phikwe East and Selebi Phikwe West. It was established to address the economic diversification of the Region which is predominantly reliant on Selebi-Phikwe as a service centre and a town where opportunities can be found.
Last week the LEA took members of the media on a tour of some of the projects that they have mentored and are now flourishing. One of the companies Maneblocks Holdings (PTY) Ltd, which trades as Farmers Pride and based in Tsetsebjwe village in the Bobirwa area, is one of the known leaders in sorghum milling and packaging under the name Farmers’ Pride in Botswana.
The company director Modise Jeremiah said that he started the business in 2005 and was financially assisted by Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and other financial institutions to set up the business.
The milling and packaging company has been a LEA client since 2008 and received interventions such as enterprise monitoring, business coaching, quality and productivity gap analysis. The agency has also helped the Tsetsebjwe-based company to market its products, especially at trade shows around the country.
Jeremiah revealed that currently they have employed 33 people who are all Batswana and emphasized that most of them are women. He said that they are able to produce 350 tonnes of sorghum meal per month and source their grain from South Africa.
“It is much cheaper to import sorghum from South Africa than at Pandamatenga farms which is more expensive for us,” said Jeremiah.
He said that they supply their products mostly to wholesalers and chain stores as well as doing packaging for some of them. In Molalatau village just 20 kilometres from Bobonong is a flourishing horticulture business owned by Tebogo Dialwa Masilompana.
The business was started in 2008 and produces cabbage, green pepper, tomatoes, butternut, beetroot and onion. According to the farm manager, Nathalie Banda they started the project by planting only 0.25 hectares but after the assistance and guidance from LEA they are now planting on 10 hectares of land.
He said that the farm source its irrigation water from a borehole that has been drilled within one of the farms. Their major clients are chain stores like Choppies, Mr. Veg, and Fresh Pack and also supply individuals’ especially small businesses in and around Molalatau.
LEA acting manager for Phikwe region Gaayo Managoba said that their aim is to ensure that they help in the diversification of SPEDU region by assisting potential entrepreneurs to draw up business plans and or help them source funding from financial institutions.
He said that most of the people who approach their offices for help are those who want to set up manufacturing business in Phikwe. Managoba said that normally they receive close to 50 clients who need business assistance especially in drafting business plans.