The Chief Executive Officer of Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), Dr. Tebogo Matome, has said entrepreneurial talent in Botswana is generally low and some clients need more handholding while some are not willing to commit to the business by not doing it full time.
In his presentation at the recent Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) conference in Gaborone, he said there is lack of markets for the client’s products and services and added that buyer’s cite poor quality of products.
According to Matome, some buyers demand high volume and consistency. On financing of projects, he said some markets are overtraded hence financiers are not willing to finance, a situation worsened by lack of security.
“Land mostly is available in areas where there are no roads, electricity and water,” said Matome.
Insufficient recurrent budget has led to inability to service most regions in Botswana and also inability to service all sectors, hence the focus in agriculture subsector.
He said there is lack of funds to develop accommodation for clients to operate. He stated that there is inability to secure specialist skills to assist clients in technical areas.
He revealed that since opening doors in April 2007, LEA has assisted 10,648 clients. He said LEA has assisted 776 clients develop and submit business plans worth P 593.2 million to financial institutions, of which P 208.4 million were approved. He added that LEA has trained 5311 clients in various courses, including business planning, marketing and recordkeeping.
“We have to share experiences and knowledge as entrepreneurs and find solutions on how best to adapt to an ever changing world,” said Matome.
He stated that LEA provides business development services of screening, training and also provides assistance in business plan development. Matome labeled LEA a key player in the economic diversification drive initiative and he said it is tasked with the creation of sustainable enterprises that will enable Botswana to produce quality locally-produced goods and services. He also credited LEA with the establishment of business incubators in Francistown, Pilane and Gaborone as well as the development of a horticulture incubator in Glen Valley.
According to Matome, the government, through LEA, has been able to provide the necessary interventions for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in the form of outreach programmes and partnerships with the private sector. He urged the government, private sector aid agencies, civil society and SMMEs to meaningfully and actively play their roles in contributing to the attainment of their goals.