The Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Vincent Seretse launched the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) mobile offices in Mmathethe village on Thursday. Seretse applauded CEDA for the work that they are doing, saying it shows that government is committed to addressing the development challenges of poverty, unemployment, and income inequality. According to Seretse, without enlarging the size of the economy, it would be impossible to create jobs that the country desperately needs. He made reference to the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) that was launched in 2015, adding that there was a budget set aside to be used in youth companies. As such, he encouraged young people to seize the opportunity to uplift their livelihoods. He said they are aware that as the ministry they are mandated to provide a decent environment for growing the economy and creating wealth through investment, industrialisation, economic diversification and trade. “CEDA is one of those key instruments that are there to steer this mandate and the agency therefore has a responsibility to address the need for a coherent and holistic approach to the development of small, medium and large scale enterprises through various products and services,” he said. Seretse said up to now CEDA has funded over 5600 enterprises valued at over P4 billion and in the process creating employment for over 56 000 people.
CEDA has 10 branches in the country which are in major centres and therefore not easily accessible to those in remote areas. Through the launch of the mobile units, Seretse believes, CEDA will reach a wider audience in the North and Southern regions. He said he is aware of the challenges that come up with having a business, and that is why CEDA still assist those through the Business Advisory Services. He implored communities to take advantage of the Mabogo Dinku initiative for micro entrepreneurs assistance which ranges from P500 to P150 000. CEDA CEO Thabo Thamane said the launch of mobile offices comes as a result of their 2015/18 Corporate Strategy where they identified the need to enhance their customer service experience and attract the right business as they want to reach wider to the citizens. He said despite being compounded by the fact that for the past two years the government significantly reduced their subvention, they knew that they had to be innovative to fulfil their mandate without compromising quality. He said with the two mobile offices they will cover the rural areas and the offices will offer all services that one will receive from a CEDA branch “Officers manning the mobile office will be able to receive business proposals from potential customers in those regions and offer other complimentary services,” he said.