The Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in the central district which have been assisted by the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) are optimistic that they will grow following the mentoring and support they have received from the authority.
The SMMEs – which do business in the agriculture, tourism and agriculture in Mahalapye, Palapye and Serowe – are primed for robust growth due to the interventions that LEA ponders towards the businesses.
Business owners shared their experiences on how LEA support them to become great enterprises through assistance such as preparation of business plans, market surveys and creating growth opportunities and promoting business linkages between themselves and big industries.
Colin Moalosi is the Managing Director of Chakanaka farms located in Shakwe few miles from Mahalapye. His runs a horticultural farm. He partnered with LEA in 2016 and has since been making significant strides with regards to growth and foot print increase.
He articulated that some of the interventions that the business accrued from LEA include business planning, record keeping, mentoring and business coaching amongst others.
“We started the business with the loan acquired from CEDA amounting to P549 000. In 2016 LEA came on board and guided us through interventions which really helped our business to grow into what it is today. LEA has helped us to have access to the markets, connecting us with buyers such as Mr Veg, Spar and other government entities, hence making better profits which allowed us to service the loan smoothly, “said Moalosi.
Managing Director of Diponeng hotel in Mahalapye Gotweng Gabotlale said she registered her business with LEA in 2016, facilitating her with trade show readiness training , customer service coaching and pre-grading assessments ( to prepare clients for grading by Botswana Tourism Organisation).
Her business was financed through a P2 million start-up loan from CEDA and is repaying the loan without any challenges as LEA helped her with financial record keeping.
The Mathudi Shade Hotel Director located in Palapye, Matshediso Makwapa, hailed LEA for assisting the business to be graded by the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) rating as 2-star hotel; a move which he says will further brand the business to the international market.
He said grading with BTO will put the business on the member list of the Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB).
Makwapa said LEA has offered voluntary training to his staff on first aid and fire management training as well as food and beverage training and procurement awareness.
Serowe Canvas and Tents Manager Omphemetse Kgotlaetsile said LEA helped the business with technological advancements such as barcoding and Technology Audit process improvement, branding, packaging and labelling.
LEA CEO Dr Racious Moatshe said the SMMEs stand out to play a crucial role in economic development and contributing to the country’s GDP.
Dr Moatshe said LEA will work hand in hand with Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), which provides financing and technical support to SMMEs, in ensuring sustainability of the small local businesses which have potential to create employment if fully rendered support.