Libuseng Visser of the Pasa Productions walked away with a grand prize of M200,000 when winners of the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) were announced in Maseru last night.
EWC is a prestigious global business coaching contest. It is a strategic partnership of the two organisations, Vodacom Lesotho Foundation (VL) and Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN).
Winners were announced under five categories.
Growth stage enterprise won by Mailoane Mokhobo who walked away with M100,000 and early stage won by Monaheng Ramahloko and Baholo Aviation who will share M100,000.
Idea stage was won by Qoane Mothibeli who walked away with M50,000 while social enterprise was won Peiso Moiloa who walked away with M50,000.
The top four winners will also get an opportunity to attend a second boot camp in Singapore plus while all 25 participants will participate in a six-month business incubation program run by VLF and GEN through its local partners BAM Foundation and Business Doctors.
â€œOur grand prize winner will also be given an opportunity to compete in the global 100 semifinalists. The winner will be treated to a lavish package that includes international observation trips, audience with globally recognized experts as well as a glittering trophy and a $1 million prize money,â€ EWC national organizer, John Matlosa, said.
The finals were a culmination of intense work which included identifying competitors through aggressive media campaigns, training roadshows and advisory campaigns, among others.
These resulted in a total of 406 applications entered for initial assessment which were withered down to the 25 who were invited to participate in the four-day high-intensity boot camp where they underwent a rigorous examination of the various aspects of their business ideas to give the edge over the best that the world can offer.
These included passing tests such as market need, input sourcing, business planning, market matching, marketing, sustainability, equity and finance, and growth, among others.
The finalists were judged on the product quality, potential for success, predictability and on the people involved in developing them.
This is also the criteria that will be used at the international level.
â€œThe challenge is for Lesotho products and their drivers to â€˜teach the world somethingâ€™ in the cut-throat environment of industrial diversity and transformation,â€ Matlosa said before the beginning of the assessment week.
â€œThe competitors are expected to take these boot camp lessons to refine their projects for final judging in what will be an innovatively nerve-wracking, stimulating, tense yet enriching week,â€ he added.
The diversity of the products which were under the microscope ranged from agriculture and renewable energies, digital cleaning services and education to aquaculture and product standard testing and digital advertising and aviation innovation, to name but a few.
Since launching in 2019, the competition has attracted 400,000 registrations from 200 countries and connected founders with over $43 million worth of perks and free support services.
Global Finalists will face off against one another in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in March 2023.
EWC is an initiative led by the Global Entrepreneurship Network and Monshaâ€™at, with support from a collection of national and global partners including One Valley, The Global Education and Leadership Foundation (tGELF), Entrepreneursâ€™ Organization, KAUST, and Start-up Genome.