The Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) has in the last financial year given out loans amounting to P330, 814 381, 12, says Public Relations Officer Leatile Bakwena.
Speaking in an interview with The Telegraph, Bakwena said out of the P330 million that CEDA pumped into business last year, the services sector got the largest chunk of P159, 161, 292.78, benefitting 199 businesses and creating 2,239 employment opportunities. In the same period, said Bakwena, CEDA collected funds amounting to P238 million. In keeping in mind its duty of making CEDA products known around the country, Bakwena explained that the Agency has an extensive outreach program meant to sensitize Batswana on its products and services. One of the Agency’s key outreach programmes includes the CEDA Open Day, which is meant to engage with members of the public to expose them to CEDA and other partnering stakeholders which are part of the value-chain in business.
“Besides that, CEDA also participates in several outreach events hosted by partnering stakeholders such as the Local Enterprise Authority and the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Many efforts are made to attend as many outreach events as possible throughout the country,” said Bakwena.
One of the challenges faced by CEDA in delivering its mandate is that of lack of market penetration by some of its funded projects, which are struggling to break into both local and international markets. Because of this challenge, CEDA clients struggle to get their products recognised, resulting in losses due to limited sales.
Bakwena explained that the other problem is lack of entrepreneurial experience by some potential and current clients, as well as lack of financial acumen to gauge how their businesses are performing.
“Business owners need to keep clear financial records. We have realised that some clients lack basic record keeping skills,” he said.
To deal with these challenges, Bakwena explained that CEDA conducts regular training and mentoring programs, which over time have allowed entrepreneurs to gain much valued training and support, which has had a positive effect on their operations. In addition, there is constant monitoring of projects that CEDA finances.