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LEA aided businesses defy the odds

LEA

Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) operating under the support of Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) recorded exceptional performances during 2020/2021 financial year. According to LEA recent annual report this is despite the economic downturn that resulted with closure of some businesses due to COVID-19.

In the report LEA states that majority of SMMEs supported by LEA survived, created new jobs and produced consumer goods that significantly assisted the country to reduce import bill in 2020 and 2021.

“Notwithstanding the economic shocks from the pandemic, SMMEs proved to be resilient as indicated by 89% survival rate recorded during the 2020-21 financial year, exceeding the set target of 70%. This impressive performance is highly attributed to the targeted support that LEA rendered the SMMEs to remain focused and profitable in the midst of the pandemic,” says LEA CEO Dr Racious Moatshe.

The CEO stated that to address the challenges occasioned by the COVID 19, LEA assisted SMMEs to adapt their operations, rationalize their output and diversify their operations and added that this resulted in revenue generated by the enterprises achieving an all-time annual high of P 495.6 million.

“Out of a total LEA portfolio of 3726 SMMEs, the turnover for the financial year stood at P495.6m, an increase of P221.1m from the previous year. This growth in SMME turnover was largely driven by the growers and blockbusters categories, whose business operations are more advanced. The services and manufacturing sectors contributed significantly to this turnover, at 39% and 31% respectively. This increase in annual turnover amid COVID 19 associated challenges is attributed to the authority’s heightened facilitation of market access opportunities, specifically the supply of COVID 19 related products and services,” says LEA CEO.

Statistics collected by LEA show that while some businesses were closing down and people losing their jobs due to COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021, LEA assisted businesses created new jobs. Statistics from the Authority show that during the year under review, LEA assisted enterprises managed to sustain a total of 1,248 jobs and created an additional 1,438 and Moatshe says the jobs created were driven by the establishment of new businesses, and the expansions that were funded during the year.

“Creation of jobs is one of the national priorities that LEA contributes to, by building SMMEs capacity to scale up and employ more people. During the 2020-2021, the authority created and sustained a total of 2686 jobs throughout the branch and incubator network amid the COVID 19 pandemic,” says the CEO.

The statistics further shows that SMME production increased tremendously and significantly contributed to reduction in import bill. The Authority stated that as Botswana’s import bill remains high, import substitution remains LEA’s priority and the SMME sector has been found to have the potential to significantly contribute towards its reduction. “This year, the organization achieved an astounding growth from P21.3million attained the previous year, to P105.7million worth of import substitution,” observes LEA officials in the latest financial report.

Giving an update regarding its incubation projects, LEA indicated that the authority is on the process of expanding its incubation program, as the initiative proved to be effective in accelerating growth of enterprises, providing access to affordable operating facilities and shared services.

The update shows that in 2021, five LEA incubation centers had a total of 79 SMMEs in various industries including food production and processing, light industrial and manufacturing and added that this a significant increase from 51 incubated in 2020.

Furthermore, a total of 450 jobs were created through the incubation programme, consisting of 232 and 218 jobs created by the incubated businesses and virtually incubated SMMEs respectively. LEA noted that efforts to expand incubation program to benefit a wide populace are underway.

 

Business

Food prices continue to rise, but at a slower rate

28th November 2022

Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

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Business

Still doing business the old way?

18th November 2022

It’s time to get business done better with MTN Business Botswana’s ICT Solutions.

Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.

More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.

Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.

A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.

Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
MTN’s evolution

For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.

As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.

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Business

BIE to vitalize the Dignity of Engineers

9th November 2022

Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in  which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.

The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.

Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.

“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.

He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.

Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.

“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.

He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.

He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc

“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran

Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.

“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.

Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that  the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.

“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.

He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.

“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams

He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .

Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution  said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.

“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.

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