Saturday, January 23, 2021

Limpopo investment agency visits LEA projects for benchmarking

The Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) this week hosted their counterparts from the Trade and Investment Limpopo (TIL) in a visit aimed at benchmarking and building relationships for the development of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the two regions.
 
TIPL, the Limpopo equivalent of Gauteng Economic Development Agency (GEDA), is the official investment and trade promotion and facilitation agency of Limpopo province.
 
“We came here as a follow up on LEA and trying to build relationships on the development of the SMMEs,” said one delegate.
 
The one project that caught the eye of the visitors is the Godisa Technology Trust in Otse and a cultural village in Mmankgodi village.
 
Godisa, which is a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), produces hearing aids suitable for the poor Sub Saharan Africa and compatible with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
 
It makes the NGO that started in 2002 the only manufacturer of the hearing aid in the African continent. Although a normal hearing aid costs $500 a unit, Nyirenda said their product goes for as little as $100 so that it changes lives.
 
The package includes a sun powered charger, battery with some chargers sold in the restrictive South African market. Currently, Godisa cannot sell hearing aids in that country in exception of chargers. South Africa EU based chargers.
 
Observers note that it will be difficult for Godisa to attract partners who will be willing to part with cash and then be controlled by the WHO requirements.
 
The General Manager of the NGO, Modesta Nyirenda, explained that they are currently struggling to meet the growing market of the hearing aids around the world.
 
“The market base has grown and the demand is getting bigger,” she said. “Our challenge is the need to access funding because the market is there. Also, we need to get better facilities and get digital,” she added.
 
Currently, the factory that produces over 3000 hearing aids annually is housed in a small room in Otse, with the deaf workers still producing the hearing aids manually. Nyirenda said they are now trying to run Godisa as a business entity, which makes it attractive to private equities.
 
It is estimated that there are 278 million hearing impaired people from around the world with about 6 million hearing aids made and sold in developed world leaving developing countries aside.
 
She revealed that there are lot of possible partners including equity partners to plough P2 million to turn around Godisa so that it meets the growing demand.
 
TIPL is a business development network for Limpopo companies seeking to expand operations locally, and into African and other foreign markets.

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