Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) held an open day event in Nata village last week Friday in an endeavor to encourage villagers to explore business opportunities in the area.
Addressing the residents during a Kgotla meeting in Nata village on Friday, the North Regional Manager of CEDA James Moribame said that it is high time that Nata villagers fully utilize the services provided by the agency to better their lives.
“Although Nata village is known for being a stop-over for travellers, the village has grown tremendously in areas such as hospitality and tourism. As CEDA we believe that there are plenty of opportunities which villagers can take advantage of. Proximity to the popular Makgadikgadi has also turned this place into a destination instead of a transit,” he said.
Moribame said that since its inception, CEDA has funded only 15 businesses in Nata village, a figure which is worrisome. He said there is an opportunity for residents to increase the number of these businesses and help develop their village.
“There is an opportunity to tap into tourism through exploitation of natural features in the district and even wildlife. Our primary mandate as CEDA is to support development of SMME sector through debt and equity financing. We also have a number of product lines available at CEDA to individuals and companies such as Debt financing, Equity financing, Credit financing and short term finance. These are opportunities that you should take advantage of,” he added.
Moribame also assured the residents that CEDA provides services geared towards mentoring and training of its clients, thereby enhancing the success of investments made in citizen business ventures.
The agency also brought along its stake-holders, Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS), Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), Registrar of Companies, Ministry of Agriculture and Bureau of Unified Revenue Service (BURS) for the residents to acquire information on the services offered by these organizations.
For his part, the Member of Parliament for Nata-Gweta constituency, Ryner Makosha lauded CEDA and its stakeholders for bringing its services to Nata residents. He said that such a move would help villagers fully understand the services offered by the organization. He further encouraged the residents to develop their village by tapping into entrepreneurship.
“No one can develop your village but yourself. Through entrepreneurship you can turn the fortunes of this village around. The Botswana government is among a few governments in the world who provide funding for businesses through programmes such as CEDA. You should take advantage of this programme,” he said.
He warned that if Batswana do not utilize opportunities given to them by government, foreigners will in the end benefit from those opportunities. Makosha also said that if residents open up businesses they will help create employment and assist government in endeavor to diversify the economy.
“If Batswana cannot open up businesses, foreigners will do and they will take the profits back to their countries. This will in turn affect the country’s economy. No one can change your lives but yourself. CEDA is ready to assist you and you should never undermine yourselves,” he said.
The purpose of CEDA Open Days is to sensitize Batswana on CEDA services and products. These Open Days are mainly held where CEDA does not have offices.