The Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) sector that over the years felt out of space will in future have a clear direction if studies conducted by Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) do not gather dust.
Since its inception in 2004 and amid criticism over its role, the agency, which advocates for small businesses, has conducted studies that have highlighted the plight of Batswana enterprises.
“When we do a research, we do not only recommend to the LEA management, but other parties (like CSO, CEDA or BOCCIM),” Masego Gwaila, LEA’s Head of Research told The Telegraph.
“The recommendations go through management and then the LEA board. Then, they go to the relevant institutions,” added Dr Tebogo Matome, Chief Executive Officer of the agency.
The organisation has also been credited for helping change the reporting structure of Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency.
Previously, CEDA reported to the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, but now reports to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The move followed a recommendation on the rationalisation study in 2008 that interrogated SMME coordination.
“That study went to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. That could have made some entities to move to the ministry. That is another route we take,” said Matome.
Last week, LEA released four surveys on piggery, review of SMME definition, needs assessments and government departments and parastatals’ level of purchasing of goods and services that tried to probe some of the difficulties the SMME sector face.
The research on piggery sought to establish structures, workings and major players in the industry and identify markets for pork.
The SMME definition also recommended that it should be in line with the region and stated it wants to review the definition together with partners like Central Statistics Office (CSO) and CEDA.
Although local businesses complained of competition from foreign enterprises, government departments support Botswana SMMEs with 94 percent of departments buying locally.
Parastatals were also found to support the sector as they spent 50 percent of their procurement budget on the small businesses.
However, most of the procuring entities were doubtful of the quality of the local produce.
“In many instances, this research has assisted in shaping policies that affect Botswana’s efforts on economic diversification,” added the agency.