BEDCO, BOLIBA partnership to boost SMMEs

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By Mamokete Makōkō

In a bid to boost indigenous small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) the Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO) and Boliba Savings and Credit inked a five-year initiative to resolve key doing business challenges facing this entrepreneurs.

BEDCO and BOLIBA signed their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for this joint venture which falls under their Micro Enterprise Project on Tuesday 15th March 2022.

Objectives of this collaborative effort include the following:

  • To assist Micro Enterprises access funding in the form of debt financing,
  • To mobilize and support Micro Enterprises with bankable and viable business proposal development,
  • To carry out harmonized capacity building programs for Micro Enterprises.

Lebohang Mafela, BEDCO’s micro enterprises project manager said in the implementation of this collaboration, “BEDCO will support these Micro Enterprises with business proposal development and compliance requirements, pre and post funding. Both of these activities will take into consideration the specific requirements”.

Mafela added Boliba will then provide micro enterprises with micro loans to grow and scale up their businesses and financial literacy.

BEDCO’s Chief Executive Idia Penane said all Basotho-owned micro enterprises that have been operating for a minimum of three (3) months are eligible to benefit from the project. These businesses, Penane said “will be afforded the opportunity to apply for a loan between M1,000.00 and M10,000.00 which is payable in a year”.

The five-year collaboration’s MoU was signed by Penane and Boliba’s General Manager, Mr. Phethang Mpota.

Boliba is a cooperative established in June 2000 by former employees of the defunct Lesotho Bank and local businessmen with the sole purpose of soliciting deposits and offering credit to its members.

Mafela said MoU signing signified the commencement of the project which will be piloted this year in the districts of Maseru, Berea, Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek, Leribe and Quthing.

He added the project will be rolled out to the remaining districts after the pilot phase.

Mpota said this MoU will therefore help these two entities, BEDCO and Boliba help Basotho youths and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

Mpota further said in 2015, they organized a competition for youths in Lesotho about financing youth led businesses that continues to date.

He said they continue to guide, support and help these youth led businesses grow.

Mafela said this memorandum was formed upon realization that entrepreneurs do not know how to take care of their businesses across Lesotho’s 10 districts and some are not legally registered.

He said that they are going to guide and train small business owners on how to take care of their businesses and register them with the ministry of trade and industry so they can acquire traders’ licenses.

Mafela further added that BEDCO and Boliba will work hand in hand to ensure that small businesses grow until the end of time.

Penane said like any other big businesses, small businesses are important and should therefore be taken care of.

She notes that small businesses come across many challenges including lack of funds and financing from Banks because they do not have prove of cash flow and do not have audited books.

But to address these anomalies facing small businesses, Penane said BEDCO is working hand in hand with commercial banks in ensuring that entrepreneurs get the financing and the trade experience they need.

Penane indicated that all Basotho-owned micro enterprises that have been in operation for a minimum of 3 months are eligible to benefit from the project.

She said these businesses will be afforded the opportunity to apply for a loan between M1000.00 and M10000.00 which is payable in a year.

“I advise that youths and entrepreneurs should come forth so that they can get the benefits in growing their businesses”, said Penane.