Minister of Trade and Industry, Dorcas Makgatho-Malesu says the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report, launched earlier in the week, comes at a critical time when the country is charting new paths.
“The National Development Plan (NDP) 10 is coming to an end while the national vision 2016 is nearing its end in about two years time,” she said.
Consistent with the Vision 2016 Pillar on ‘A prosperous, productive and innovative nation’ , the report has covered a wide geographical area, inclusive of grassroots communities and urban habitations giving a better picture of how the country is doing in entrepreneurship.
GEM is an annual assessment of the entrepreneurial activity, aspirations and attitudes of individuals across a wide range of countries.
Initiated way back in 1999, it explores the role of entrepreneurship in national economic growth, unveiling detailed national features and characteristics associated with entrepreneurial activity.
The objectives of GEM are to measure differences in the level of entrepreneurial activity between countries, to uncover factors leading to appropriate levels of entrepreneurship activity.
“I am happy to note that this report is unique because unlike other entrepreneurship datasets that measure newer and smaller firms, GEM studies at the grassroots level the behaviour of individuals with respect to starting and managing a business,” said Makgato-Malesu.
The report further mentions that Small Micro Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) face challenges such as access to finance, poor quality of produced products, access to markets, lack of proper management structures, lack of proper training lack of proper financial records and misuse of business designated funds among many other constraints.
The GEM research has shown that that nearly 90 percent of all registered businesses are SMMEs which employ well over 300 000 people both formally and informally. Minister Makgato-Malesu indicated that Government considers the SMMEs sector as an engine of economic growth.
“The government has come up with initiatives that could contribute towards SMME’s growth by creating an enabling environment for doing business in Botswana, which among others entails amending the Trade Act, the Industrial Act and the Companies Act.”
According to the GEM report, in 2014, the country has moved nine places up to number 56 out of 189 countries ranked.
Botswana has made notable strides in the Doing Business rankings from last year where it moved five places upward to number four in Sub-saharan Africa after Mauritius and South Africa.
This is partly due to the sound macro-economic environment in which Botswana moved from position 81 to 24 from 2013 to 2014.
The minister said she was pleased to note that most of Batswana surveyed in this study indicate that they perceived entrepreneurship favourably as a career choice.
She said policy makers, financiers and institutions charged with the development of entrepreneurship and enterprises in the country would consult and adopt some of the recommendations made by this report.
“The role of the private sector is critical, thus private financial services providers must innovate in new products meant to finance and support small businesses,” she said.