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CAFI inducts second cohort

THE government’s Competitiveness and Financial Inclusion (CAFI) project this week inducted the second cohort of entrepreneurs that will receive financial and incubation support under the Entrepreneurship Hub and Seed Financing Facility (LEHSFF).

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The 50 entrepreneurs, who own startups and established businesses, will officially begin their six-month incubation this week. They will receive US$7000 to either launch or scale up their businesses.

The incubation services which include mentorship and coaching support and training in basic finance, marketing, branding, quality control, standardisation, sector-specific technical skills and e-commerce.

They will also receive psychological support to cope with the pressures of managing abusiness.

The entrepreneurs signed a declaration of commitment during the inauguration and were also given keys symbolising that they had opened new doors.

’Mamashiya Ntšepeng Tšita-Tikiso, the manager of the Entrepreneurship Hub and Seed Financing Facility, said the entrepreneurs should brace for the journey ahead.

“Understand that your plane is not landing but taking off. This is the moment when you need more energy,” Tšita-Tikiso said. “It is going to be rough and tough but also very exciting. This is an opportunity to make your dreams come true. It’s a chance to make a difference.”

Tsita-Tikiso said they should also appreciate that the government has entrusted them with the responsibility to build the economy and create jobs.

She said they should lean on their Enterprises Support Organisations (ESOs) for support.

Tšita-Tikiso said the hub is building on the lessons learned from the first cohort whose incubation has just ended.

“The major lesson has been that information sourcing and documentation is key from day one of the incubation,” Tšita-Tikiso said.

“Resources need to be allocated as soon as possible during the diagnostic phase. Plan all the way.” “The Production of management accounts should be done from day one.”
The 50 businesses are under five ESOs.

Khaya and Snake Nation specialise in incubating businesses in the creative industry while Afri-Expo and Johane Garments focus on textile companies. Sky Blue focuses on tourism businesses while the SMME Support Network’s interest is general.

The US$52.5 million CAFI project is funded by the World Bank and the Lesotho government.

The project is founded on three mutually reinforcing pillars: Enhancing Financial Inclusion and Resilience of MSMEs, Scaling Support for Entrepreneurship and MSMEs, and Project Management Support.

Staff Reporter

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