The Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) last week held a week-long entrepreneurial development training program for 23 budding businessmen and women from Francistown and surrounding areas. The trainees, some of whom had established businesses while some did not, were taken through rigorous training in areas like market study, creating business planning, accessing finance, setting goals and targets, and marketing.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the entrepreneurial development training program, LEA Francistown branch manager, Sarah Mbanga, told the trainees that their role as businessmen and women is not only to strive for self sustainability but also to create wealth and employment through sustainable contribution to the national economy.
“This training was meant to change your mindset and widen your scope of thinking as far as entrepreneurship is concerned. It is our hope that we have instilled in you entrepreneurial competencies that will assist you to operate beyond consumption levels but rather strive to be manufacturers and suppliers who motivate the creation of wealth,” she said.
According to one of the trainers, Balisi Sehlulane, the program is meant to unleash the entrepreneurial potential of budding and established businessmen and change their mindset in terms of how business men think and operate.
The trainees are trained in different areas like establishing a business plan, accessing finance, goal and target setting, market analysis and market access.
“The business plan is the fundamental working document in any business. But we also train our graduates to deal with other sectors like mobilisation of resources, setting up the business and perseverance during the operation,” he said.
He added that they always insist on building competencies in quality and efficiency, and encouraging import substitution and export oriented products and services.
The trainees were asked to establish draft business plans, make market surveys and finally meet financiers on a one on one basis, during which they were given expert advice on how to improve on their projects.
Established through the Small Business Act of 2004, LEA was given the mandate of providing development and support services to the local industry needs of SMMEs.
Such needs would include training, mentoring, business plan finalisation, market access facilitation, and facilitation of technology adaptation and adoption. Over the years, it has helped to provide such services and exposed established and budding businesses to the local and international markets through, for example, the recent SMME convention and partaking in various expos and trade fairs.
Over the last few years, LEA has also sponsored their clients to forums like the BOCCIM northern trade fair during which they organised buyer-seller forums for them in a bid to expose them to local and international markets.