The Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ministry of Youth empowerment, sport and culture development (MYSC) in its bid to support upcoming and youthful entrepreneurs in the country.
The agreement is expected to see the two state entities offer mentoring to both existing and new youth businesses across the sectors with the primary aim of providing support in running sustainably and competitively.
“Capacity building is a critical component that will enable the beneficiaries to attain real business growth, employ more people and ultimately reduce the import bill, thereby contributing towards the diversification of our economy, said Chief Executive Officer of LEA, Racious Moatshe.
Further he said with high unemployment currently experienced especially amongst the youth, collaborative efforts such as this one are imperative in launching the entrepreneurship and enterprise development as alternatives to formal employment.
Moatshe noted, “As we implement this strategic alliance, let us also monitor the impact on the beneficiaries. Monitoring and evaluation are central to every progress strategy implementation. The periodic assessment of the implemented initiatives will enable all of us to continuously develop innovative and creative ways that will stimulate the Botswana youth to be creative and successful.”
In his comment, MYSC Permanent Secretary, Kago Ramokate said they expect that the businesses that are started by young people are sustainable to the extent that at a minimum, they are able to sustain the job or employment of the young person who would have applied for that project.
“So it is important that every funded project is succeful, so that at least we have one job secured for the young person, we also hope to continue improve the program and get these young people to run succeful enterprises.”
Adding that they have been working with different entities to try to ensure success of the development fund.
He said to bring consistency and standardization to the work that they do is important that they formalize the agreement and have a document which can be a reference point for both the staff at LEA and the staff at MYSC.
“Our eco system for the success of youth development fund project included the micro financing that we provide, as we also tried to improve market access for this programs by introducing affirmative action programs,” he added.
Ramokate says they have 20 percent reservation budget for government to procure youth businesses, and 15 percent reservations for maintenance of government infrastructure to be given to young people or youth businesses.
“We have preference schemes that also give a 15 percent margin on the evaluation of youth tender. So this has been to some extent being able to contribute to success that we have in youth projects,” he concluded.