THE second cohort of the Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO) business plan competition has seen a significant increase in the participation of entrepreneurs from other sectors with the majority of winners coming from the manufacturing sector.
Dec. 5, 2022
3 min read
Manufacturing sector dominates BEDCO awards
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The majority of winners were from the manufacturing sector at 46 percent followed by the agricultural sector at 40 percent while tourism and technology were less represented at 10 and four percent respectively.
This, according to BEDCO is a notable improvement considering that in the first cohort, winners were from the agricultural sector alone.
While the first cohort was dominated by the Maseru district, there has been a huge improvement in this demographic where only 46 percent of the winners are from Maseru compared to the previous cohort where an astounding 70 percent of the winners were from Maseru.
BEDCO acting Chief Executive Officer, Tšepang Tlali said each of the 50 winners will receive seed capital of M100 000 for their businesses. These winners will also be provided with business support services to ensure the sustainable growth of their businesses.
“The largest percentage of submissions and winners in the first cohort were from the agricultural sector with similar products. We have seen an increase in participation of entrepreneurs from other sectors with the majority of the winners coming from the manufacturing sector,” Tlali said during the business plan competition award ceremony last week.
Out of the 50 winners, 44 percent were male, and 56 percent were women.
A fair representation across the country emerged from the results with 42 percent of the winners coming from Maseru, 17 percent from Berea and Leribe while Mokhotlong registered six percent followed by Mafeteng with only four percent.
Qacha’s Nek registered four percent, Botha-Bothe eight percent while Thaba-Tseka registered only two percent.
The competition targets businesses in the four priority sectors of agriculture, manufacturing, technology tourism as well as renewable energy as specified by the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) II.
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“Through this competition and the further support provided by the project, the crisis of youth unemployment and unemployment in the country as a whole can be alleviated,” Tlali added.
There was also an increase in the number of applications received, from 347 in the first cohort to 1137 in the second.
The spike, according to BEDCO could be attributed to a continuous increase in youth and women unemployment among others, which calls for more efforts towards responding to the crisis of unemployment.
In 2018, BEDCO’s capability to deliver services to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) was enhanced by funding from the African Development Bank (AFDB) through the government under the Economic Diversification Support Project-Promoting Enterprise Development (PED) to support the growth and development of MSMEs as well as building the capacity of BEDCO to sustain the project goals after the completion of the project.
The project consisted of the three components of the business plan competition, business incubation, and expansion of business development services.
The three work streams were linked to the implementation of a business incubation strategy to support the growth of Basotho MSMEs into a robust and innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem.