The Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) in collaboration with Stanbic Bank awarded three horticultural agriprenuers a total of P80, 000 at the GlenValley horticultural Incubator on Monday. Auntie B’s Quality Enterprises scooped fi rst prize and got prize money of P45, 000 while Tlotlo & Leina Enterprises and Direct a New Enterprises shared position two and were each awarded P17, 500. LEA Director, Corporate & Stakeholders Communications Nyaladzi Kutjwe said the programme which started in 2011 was growing in leaps and bounds as efforts to provide the incubator clients with an enabling environment, infrastructure and technology support which will allow them to become successful horticulture entrepreneurs is now evident through the fi rst ever graduation of clients who were completing the programme.
She said LEA assisted horticulturists to sow the seeds of their dreams through the incubators while Stanbic Bank took their dreams a step further by applauding all the hard work that has gone into ensuring success of the horticultural incubator. For his part, LEA’s Director, Innovation Sector Support,Lesitamang Paya said, “our aim is to see Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) as sustainable businesses, to see them fl ourish and contribute positively to Botswana’s economy, and it is through partnerships such as these that our local SMMEs will be encouraged to advance their businesses.” Paya said the incubation programme was incepted to enhance skills and technology transfer to clients through mentoring and the provision of infrastructure.
He said this will help them to become knowledgeable business owners, who will enhance their produce and in turn expanding their market base. He said they hoped initiatives like this will attract more agripreneurs. For his part, Stanbic Bank’s head of SME banking, Keletso Setimela said it was in 2011 when they saw it fi t to give back to communities they operate in hence the donation of P250, 000 towards the LEA incubator. Setimela said Botswana’s SME climate is full of promise and potential, saying that it contributes to the economy as a whole in a remarkable manner and accounts for nearly 90% of the businesses registered in Botswana, employing over 300, 000 people.
Barbara Molefe of Auntie B’s Quality Enterprises thanked LEA and Stanbic for the initiative. She said she will use the money to buy drippers for her farm in Malolwane where she will produce maize and tomatoes. Molefe said even though there are challenges especially when it comes to market, she is determined to take her business to greater heights.