Most Local Small Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMMEs) cite financial difficulties as one of the major obstacles they have to tackle before their business could venture out into the profitable market.
The entrepreneurs claim that finding sponsors for a new and upcoming business can prove to be time consuming and challenging, especially for amateurs in the dog eat dog world of business.
Most of them claim to have been met with discouragements and disappointments up until officials from the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) showed up at their door and introduced them to a lively and guided journey to dealership.
Speaking to the Sunday Standard at an SMMEs fair that is being held by LEA in honour of entrepreneurs at the Grand Palm, the Managing Director of Forensic and Allied Services, David Sethatho, said he was grateful to LEA for the quality services it offered him in terms of preparations and guidance for a wholesome company package that could attract sponsors.
The main challenges he faced was that his company offered a relatively new field of business that most were not familiar with in Africa, therefore the challenge was in having to find means to best explain their company’s position in a way that could attract the potential sponsors.
Sethato, whose company falls under the services section in LEA’s schemes, says he was not at all focused on issues pertaining to business plans and the likes, which LEA took care of.
With the help and services from LEA, Sethato was able to secure funding with Peo Capital.
“The fair is of great help because it even provides us with positive exposure; as we speak, I have already met and talked to a number of service providers who could be of great importance to the growth of my business one day,” said Sethato.
Another local business man, manager of Chitawa Lodge in Ramokgwebana, Shadreck Chiwandika, states insufficient funds as one of the stumbling blocks in the progression of his business.
He says the lodge, which is situated in the outskirts of Francistown, is not well known to locals and even tourists, because they hadn’t been receiving enough exposure.
He claims that the lodge was expensive to maintain, more so that they had to drill their own water boreholes and the likes.
Chitawa said that he was grateful to LEA, which is heavily involved in offering trained advice and services to his company.
“So far LEA is coming in strongly; it is training the directors and managers at the Chitawa Lodge on their own time. LEA is paying for 85% of the proceedings while the lodge pays the remaining percentage,” says Chiwandika. “So far, I haven’t been able to find any buyers but hopefully before the end of the fair, something will come up.”
Local businesswoman, Bonani Rakgole from Molefe Furs based in Pilane, sings endless praises for LEA’s involvement in her business, which she says is pleasing.
The business, which deals in manufacturing and designing strictly leather products, such as executive bags, purses, folders and the likes, is now enjoying a considerable amount of exposure after LEA made an effort to improve the services the company offered.
According to Rakgole, before the LEA consultants approached her, she was quite ignorant of business dealings and had no idea how to do what and where.
That is up until they trained her through a number of workshops and mentorship programs.
“They have also connected my business to banks that were of help to us. I remember last year the business didn’t have money to buy a stall at the Global Expo and LEA sponsored us and a lot of orders came in for my products, a lot of orders are coming in at this particular fair as we speak,” says Rakgole.
Rakgole claims that before the business encounter with LEA, she had a short supply of unskilled manpower and they were financially unstable; they even had to use massive amounts of money to buy material, which is rarely available in Botswana.