In an effort to save the ailing economy of Francistown, the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) has funded 125 businesses from applicants who operate businesses in the second city for the 2021/ 2022 financial year. The businesses were funded at a total of P30, 504, 092.54.
This was revealed by Francistown City mayor Godisang Radisigo during a full council meeting held virtually on Monday. He said this was part of the effort by CEDA to help salvage the city from the economic woes which were caused by the closure of mines in its surroundings.
“This has maintained 301 jobs and creating new 241 jobs. Out of the 125 funded projects in the city of Francistown, 56 projects are under Letlhabile at a value of P327, 015.15 and 17 businesses under Mabogodinku at a value of P139, 500.00. The remaining 52 projects are under the CEDA mainline stream,” he said.
Radisigo also revealed that in Francistown, CEDA has so far financed a total of 19 projects to the tune of P3, 226, 564.97 under the Industry Support Facility. He however said the effort to improve financing of projects is hampered by an influx of poorly prepared business proposals which are unfortunately sourced from business consultants who charge exorbitant prices. He further said as mitigation to economic challenges in the city, the Agency will focus on funding more agriculture and manufacturing projects to counteract the effects of closure of mines.
“With regards to the poor quality of proposals, the Agency continues to collaborate with the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) and Tokafala to assist business entities with preparation of their business proposals. There is also continuous identification of training and mentoring needs during projects appraisal and monitoring with a view to up skill clients,” the mayor added.
He also said LEA continues to offer various services to SMMEs such as skills training, business mentoring, market access facilitation, business incubation, technology adoption and diffusion. Radisigo was also happy saying that in Francistown LEA has been assisting businesses under different sectors such as agriculture, services, tourism and manufacturing. He said this led to a total of 104 new permanent jobs and market facilitation valued at P 1, 867, 119.73 to supply government and private sector organizations with various goods and services as a result of growth oriented interventions.
“You will also be happy to note that 5 511 informal sector businesses have been funded through Industry Support Fund to alleviate Covid-19 effects on business operations,” he said.
He further said in terms of LEA’s business incubation, a total of 24 small businesses including Poverty Eradication beneficiaries were trained on confectionary training. Eight are now operational and have employed 41 people. He said business plan finalization for financial assistance services were given to Youth Development Fund applications valued at around P11.9 million, 18 CEDA applications valued at P47,1 million and National Development Bank (NDB) applications valued at P779, 810.59.
“Of the business plans submitted 133 were agriculture, 27 in manufacturing and 47 under services. According to the assessment done on the current capacity of our enterprises, we can meet the local demand for vegetables, eggs, fruits, textiles, school uniform, safety wear, cleaning detergents, sanitizers, disposable gowns and masks,” the mayor said.