50 Basotho entrepreneurs walked away with M100 000.00 each as the prize money won from the Basotho Enterprise Development Corporation (BEDCO) business plan competition on April 20, 2022.
The Business plan competition was started last year when BEDCO planned to reach out to the youth of Lesotho as a way to curb the growing rate of unemployment.
The competition was sponsored by the Ministry of Small Business Development Cooperatives and Marketing with M5million.
Speaking at the prize-giving ceremony in Maseru, the Minister of Small Business, Co-operatives and Marketing, Machesetsa Mofomobe urged the winners to use the funds they won for their business as well as other business related matters and to implement other entrepreneurial opportunities.
Mofomobe explained that these funds are a loan from the government of Lesotho sourced with the intention to create jobs for other unemployed youth.
â€œWinners should use the funds they won for their business as well as other business related matters and to implement other entrepreneurial opportunities,â€ he said.
For her part, BEDCO Chief Executive Officer, Idea Penane stated that on November 2021 BEDCO launched the BEDCO Enterprise Development Program after being hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
â€œThere is much that is expected from the winners as they are now the hope of Lesothoâ€™s economy and the key to fighting the high unemployment rate,â€ Penane said at the prize-giving ceremony in Maseru.
She said these businesses require nurturing, patience and resilience.
On behalf of the beneficiaries, Montá¹¡i Montá¹¡i said she did not believe that she could actually win the fund but that she joined the competition with the hope to win.
Montá¹¡i said she was very happy to be among the 50 winners and urged the youth to join the competition in order to create jobs and boost the economy of the country.
â€œI did not think I could win but I am happy that I am one of the winners. I urge more Basotho entrepreneurs to enter competitions such as this one so that they also get a change to build businesses which will boost the countryâ€™s economy,â€ she said.
Meanwhile, BEDCO Enterprise Development Officer, Nthati Lenyeta said in the Youth Development Program, they aim at the projects which help finance youth and develop startups.
She said, they have competitions that are mainly designed for the youth which include business plan competitions funded by the African Development Bank through the Ministry.
Lenyeta further highlighted that, the department works hand in hand with the Lesotho government office which helps distribute the funds to the youth and women between the ages of 18 and 40 years.
BEDCO started the project upon realization that most youth and women after graduating are left stranded with unemployment and no financial assistance for their business ideas.
It initiated the business plan competition in order to focus on creation of jobs for other youths without any qualifications.