A total of 42 SMMEs entrepreneurs graduated from Glen Valley Horticulture Incubation Project supported by Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) and Stanbic Bank Botswana. In an effort to develop Botswana’s SMMEs sector with focus on horticulture, the bank partnered with LEA as a corporate social responsibility. Stanbic bank gave the SMMEs a total grant of P100 000.
In his remarks Head of SME Section Stanbic Bank Botswana, Onkabetse Morapedi said the Partnership, established in 2012, has seen an overwhelming growth in participation from horticulture entrepreneurs over the years. He said investing in platforms such as the Glen Valley Incubator Program is another way in which Stanbic Bank Botswana is assisting local entrepreneurs in the development of job creation opportunities and the growth of the agricultural sector. He added that by trainees completing the program, they have empowered themselves with the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully run and maintain their enterprises. Morapedi encouraged all to make a personal pledge to play whichever role they can to strengthen the growth of local enterprises.
He also cited that beyond being a financial partner, they strive to give back and empower the communities they serve. "In driving Botswana’s growth we look to invest and contribute to key areas of the economy that support diversification and Stanbic Bank Botswana remains steadfast in helping local enterprise move further forward," he said.
Meanwhile, LEA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Racious Moatshe said their objective is to create a pool of successful, sustainable and competitive SMME’S that will be instrumental in advancing governments high level goals of employment creation, import substitution, poverty eradication and economic diversification.
In this year’s competition 10 outstanding winners were granted prizes ranging from P5 000 to P20 000 by Stanbic Bank Botswana. Dimakatso Lekgotla walked away with P20 000 while Keneilwe Mpho Mmopiemang scoped the least amount P5 000.00. One of the graduates Jacob Thebenala said through the training at the incubation center they have acquired skills to produce enough food to feed the nation .He urged his fellow graduates to go out work hard improve productivity in Botswana by reducing the import dependence which Botswana Experience. ‘We have really been incubated and have since reached the birth state. Through collaboration as enterprises we can make a significant difference, grow and increase productivity, he said.
Currently Botswana imports about 48 percent of vegetables from the neighboring countries such as South Africa.